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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in recess until 2:15 this afternoon. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2
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is $50,000. almost four times what the rest of public education costs. and many, and the vast majority of our basis we use public schools. we could take the money we're spending today, pay every public school system 14,000 per child, and save billions of dollars per year just on, and with the same or better outcomes. >> this weekend talk with oklahoma senator tom coburn about the fiscal cliff, the affordable care act and the future of the republican party on "book tv"'s in depth. the senator written several
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books and reports including the latest, the debt bomb. join the conversation with calls, e-mails and tweets comements and for doctor, senator tom coy burn. sunday noon eastern on "book tv"'s in depth on c-span2. up next, for-profit practitioners discuss the role of private enterprise in public education. they lose also look at the obama administration approach to education reform. that was hosted yesterday at the american enterprise institute in washington. it is 90 minutes. >> hi. welcome, thanks for joining us. whether you're here at home, hope everybody had a terrific thanksgiving. i know that we're just getting back and, so the
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energy level is probably going to be, mellow, which we'll make that work for us, since we're going to talk about what sometimes is contentious subject. today's panel is on the question of for-profits and federal education policy. this is a topic that we ad aei have been interested in and talking about for an extended stretch. the last couple of years with the generous support of the templeton foundation we have been running the private enterprise and american education project trying to think about both the opportunities and the challenges, the upsides and the downsides of having for-profits involved in k-12 and higher education. how do we make this work for kids and communities how do we think about some of the challenges and, potential perils of having for-profits involved. this panel is the close of a series of panels and conversations. we have commissioned a number about of pieces of
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new research which will be coming out as a book this spring with futures college press at columbia university. michael horn and i have had the opportunity to work with a terrific set of authors. those of you guys with cell phones, please make sure you turned them to vibrate or turn them off before we get started. why this topic? well, when we talk about education the vast majority of what we do in america k-12 higher education is done by public institutions. it's done by public institutions that are run by states. a lot of other work including most charter schools are nonprofits or famous institutions like stanford and harvard and yale and princeton. and then, however, there's a substantial swath of activity that is for-profits, both for-profits that run schools or colleges. there is also for-profits that sell everything from pencils to paper to textbooks, to curricula, to
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professional development and school systems and universities and colleges. we don't often think about that. we don't often think about what the upsides, what are the downsides, how does that play out and that's what we really want to get into today. for instance, just recently our friends at parent revolution said, you know, when thinking about the parent trigger that we, you know, there's a need to regulate. we need to think about where to draw the lines and what kind of operators to permit, they choose not to encourage, for-profits be permitted to participate because we believe the introduction of a new stakeholder group that school operators are accountable too, shareholders seeking profit, will make the public school system less oriented towards putting children first. so that is really the question. does allowing folks to operate as for-profits, does encouraging that, cause us to be less likely to put students first? so that's today's
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conversation. we have with us five extraordinary individuals to help us think more deeply about these questions and what it means for public policy. we have stacey childress, deputy director of the education at the bill and melinda gates foundation where she leads the next generation models team. prior to joining gates, stacey was on the faculty of the harvard business school where she wrote and taught about entrepreneural activity in public education. we have with us, raquel whiting giller in, currently the chief operating officer for learned system. prior to joining learned raquel served as senior director of community and business development for educate online, a division of sylvan learning. raquel has a background in statewide politics where she managed several democratic campaigns, serving as senior fund-raiser for bill bradley's 2,000 presidential campaign. michael horn, cofounder and executive director of education at n site institute. coauthor of disrupting class
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with clay christian son and jim johnson. we have jim shelton, at the u.s. department of the education. the department, jim manages most of the competitive programs including i-3 and promise neighborhoods. previously he served as program direct or for education at the bill and melinda gates foundation and was the east coast lead for new schools venture fund and co-founder of learn now. finally with have with us eric westendorf, cofound other and ceo of learnzillion. eric incubated the learnzillion at haines public charter school in washington, d.c., one of of the highest performing charter schools where wes was chief academic officer and principal. let's get started. eric, and raquel i will ask you guys to go ahead and kick this off. real simple question. both of you are executives at for-profit education companies. we just heard parent revolution point out that the challenge with for-profits perhaps
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stakeholders will take precedence every the kids. why do education as a for-profit rather than a nonprofit? eric? >> great. so, let me, let me first start by just saying what learnzillion is and then answer the question why we decided to organize as a for-profit instead after nonprofit. so learnzillion is a website that gives teachers, parents and students access really high quality lessons, taught by some of the top teachers around the country. as we, as a country start to move towards the common core state standards, right, that's it really challenging to implement those standard and so learnzillion provides a practical solution that gives teachers in particular tools that they can use to make that transition effectively. so that's a little bit about what learnzillion is. now why did we decide to organize as a for-profit? so as rick mentioned we
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actually started at haines public charter school. i was a principal. then the cao there. it was really in trying to solve a problem that the idea of learnzillion came about to begin with and that problem was, we had these amazing, hard-working, talented teachers who were spending most of their day in isolation without the ability to share expertise they were developing inside that classroom with other colleagues efficiently or with students in away that could get them what they needed when they needed it, along with parents as well. and so the idea for learnzillion was, what if we use a platform to share this expertise in a way that will help with professional development for teachers but also help get students the lessons they need? and by the way i have two children who are at el haines. i was also trade in the parent perspective have full transparency what my kids
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were learning every day in class. when we started to work on this idea, and realized that it needed to be a separate organization, that thought about this at scale, we came across this question, what is the best way to organize ourselves to get the job done, right? so it was, in making the choice to become a for-profit it was not sort of from the starting point of, how can we recognize an opportunity to make money? it was, how do we take a problem that exists at e. l. haines at one of the highest performing schools in d.c. and exists at most schools in the country and try to solve that and what is the best vehicle to get there? to my surprise, i was teacher for seven years, principle and cao for five years, went to business school and spent most of the time translating from the for-profit terminology into the paradigm of nonprofits my cofounder and i decided we would be best served being a for-profit and there were a few reasons for that. one is a website we were
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going to need to really have talented technologists on board. would need to have really good computer programmers. part of our mission is toe create stuff that works for teachers. we didn't want something that was clunky. we want something that spoke to sort of web 2.0. we knew if you were going to recruit high quality computer programmers it is difficult to do as a nonprofit versus a for-profit. that was one reason. one was access to capital. we wanted to do something that would start out in d.c. but would have a chance to have legs nationally and potentially even internationally. we felt like in order to scale in the ways that we wanted to scale over time that access to capital was going to be important and being able to both look to foundations but also look to investors was going to be really helpful. and then finally, you know, so my cofounder and i, we're both teachers and ended up meeting at stanford business school. i think we also had an
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appreciation for a level of discipline that was going to be put on our shoulders by virtue of being a for-profit in terms of creating a tool we were going to have to create something that generated value for teachers and for schools. if we didn't do that, we probably shouldn't be around for that long. if we did do that, then, people would probably be willing to pay for it at some point. there was also this piece around, let's sort of force ourselves to have the discipline to create something that really creates values for teachers and schools. so those are some of the reasons we were, decided to go the for-profit route. >> terrific. >> i'm from learned systems and we're a full services educational service provider. i actually wasn't at learn-it when we decided to become a for-profit so i can't tell you what the rationale was. what i can tell you i left a law practice about eight years ago to work in education. i didn't consider whether i would work for a for-profit
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or nonprofit. i thought i want to go someplace and make a difference. i want to be a part of the solution. i took a pay cut to do that. people at learn it, i hard to hear quotes like that immediately for-profit is only stakeholder is the vest are tore or stockholder. for us at learn it we talk about we two bottom lines. we have an academic bottom line and financial bottom line and we can't fail on either. so we're very focused on student achievement and focused on making sure we're meeting the needs of those stakeholders which are the students, the families, the schools, the principals that we serve. so unfortunately i can't answer that exact question but i have to tell you we're here in this business because we want to make a difference and we're passionate about education. >> michael? to the point raquel just made, a skeptic of for-profits being involved in education, might say, well that is nice, if your heart is in the right place,
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okay but at the end of the day, nonprofits are always going to be doing the right thing and spend money on kids and for-profits have other complications going on. you've written about this. how should we think about these issues? >> sure thing. thanks, rick. the, it's an interesting question because i think a lot of people make that first assumption there is shareholders and therefore there is this conflicting interest but what they don't think about behind it obviously to return value to those shareholders you have to do something that pleases customers and keeps them. so in your case delivering great academic results is critical to delivering good results for shareholders so those things can work in concert. i think one of the big problems we face across this country though is that the education system that we have in place doesn't always line up the incentives in a really smart way. so creating good products that actually create great learning outcomes for students isn't always rewarded in today's
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marketplace which can legitimately create the tensions between these shareholders and customer interests that we ought to care about. in many cases students and teachers aren't actually really the customers that we're serving in the public education marketplace today. when you look at nonprofits -- >> who is the customer? >> sure thing. the districts are often customers and person making the buying decision is often a purchaser in the central district office who may or may not have learning interests at heart. may actually just be trying to spend down a line item in the budget because it is a use it or lose it mentality in some cases. so those things don't always line up in the ways we hope they would. we have a school system fundamentally built what we call seat time, literally funding students for sitting in seats, not for the amount of learning progress they may make in a given year. and as a result that creates a lot of weird incentives up and down the system but the nonprofits respond to similar incentives in many
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cases. if you look in higher education for example, while there's been a lot of faengs attention paid to some of the questionable practices at for-profits in university space, if you look at universities serving similar demographics individuals, high-risk students and so forth, you don't see great results from the nonprofits either. the incentives are largely the same which is you get tuition revenue up front, regardless whether the students learn, succeed, get good jobs, things of that nature at the moment. there obviously have been changes with the gainful employment regulations as of late but fundamentally that is how the system is set up. you see similar behavior across the sectors. >> stacey, at gates you're in charge of the innovation for the feel -- portfolio, what you're operating with both, for-profits and nonprofits how do you gauge the strengths and the weaknesses of, or are there
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general strengths and weaknesses when we look across for-profits and nonprofits? >> i think michael opens up a really interesting area for our conversation the degree the way incentives in the system work. either enable or constrain the kind of innovation we all look for in terms of, you know, improved outcomes for students at the same or lower cost as we spend today, with a variety of actors being able to participate in that. the lack of clarity about what we mean by good performance, the lack of the kind of data we need to make those kind of judgements, either as investors or parents or interested community members creates a really difficult playing field, whether you're for-profit or nonprofit trying to raise capital to do the kinds of things that
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improve student performance. one rule of thumb that we have for now at gates, i've been there about 2 1/2 years, leading this work is that our work with for-profits right now is targeted to areas in which in public education for-profits have long been actors. so often times you talk about is it okay to have for-profits in education and act as if there aren't market segments in education in k-12 because there are. when rick mentioned in my bio, i taught at harvard business school for years and it was always surprising to me what low appetite business school students, these are mba, graduate students, the vast majority of whom are going out to make their careers in the private sector and i taught a course on education entrepreneurship. that very idiosyncratic population of folks had a
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very low appetite and a very high bar for risk-taking in for-profit models that were very close to students. so if you talk about, hey, schools spend tons of money on things like copy machines and they don't insist that the copy machine vendor be a nonprofit to be able to reap revenues that are all public sector dollars, all of it is tax money. so the copy guy is not suspicious. the textbook folks are getting a little closer to the classroom there. a little more suspicious, but not quite so much. i mean that part of the sector is dominated by for-profit players, whether kind of old line textbook providers or those transitioning into the new digital age and thinking more about online todaytive products. there is a little bit of push there. but much lower heat around that conversation but the closer you get to the
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classroom, how about school operators that contract with the local school district? a for-profit company either running one or two schools or some national network of schools and being able to, at the having a goal at the end of the year to have money left over to reinvest in the business, to make it better and to return over some period of time, whatever the expectations are of the investors, a return to shareholders. again even at harvard business school over a number of years with about 800 or so students, a very small percentage of them thought that was okay. and it seemed that the paradigm was, which kinds of activities do we now just presume the public sector has a legitimate right to provide and which, and therefore it seems an encroachment from the private sector trying to somehow capture rents that are really more appropriately flowed through
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the public sector? so i think, even on this panel we've got some of that difference. so, you know, learnzillion operates in a space that largely is for-profit now. so in our work, rick, which was the question you asked, we don't fund for-profit charter management organizations or educational management organizations, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual schools. it is a not because we don't think they have a legitimate right to play in that space necessarily of the it's just that philanthropy is better suited to support those kinds of organizations that are nonprofit and rely on philanthropic capital market for their dollars to scale and grow but in spaces that have traditionally been dominated by for profits where we're actively seeking ways to help create better incentives for those for-profit players to have reasons to invest in quality
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and innovation because commercial capital is already flowing there. commercial actors are already dominating in that space and if for some reason we believe those products and services don't have incentives, don't have the data transparency, don't have the kind of performance metrics that mean at the end of the day that things that work best for teachers and students win, that seems better use of philanthropy rather than investing in for-profits like commercial vendors do. >> stacey, what do you say to the critics that the gates foundation is seeking to privatize american education, a charge thrown about a fair bit? >> we do hear that thrown about a fair bit. so i think it is an interesting charge. again given that we don't support for-profit school operators at all. i think it is more of a policy challenge that people have to our work that, you know, we believe more choices for kids and families in, particularly in neighborhoods where students
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have long had very low quality educational options, we think that's a good thing. we support charter schools in general, charter laws in particular in places and the privatization charge, at least the way i perceive it, from our most vocal critics is less about for-profits and more about not public. and so whether it's for-profit charter operators or nonprofit charter operators like haines that eric mentioned earlier, the privatization charge is about not public sector operations. it is true that we support lots of nonprofit actors that deliver educational services in low income communities. we think more choices for families and students are a positive thing and i think that's, you know, part of the root of that. but also, you know, it, the charge gets more attention when you lump it together with lots of worries and fears that private sector
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for-profit actors are going to come in, particularly into low income communities, aggregate resources to themselves that ought to be spent making sure students and families have more high quality options and somehow take those resources out of the community and return them to some nameless, faceless plutocrats somewhere that are, you know, not interested at all in educational options. again, as michael said, with the incentives as murky as they are, and with the ability to really distinguish between schools that do very well and schools that don't do so well it is a harder nut to crack. >> all right. you brought us the policy question. jim, you're somebody who has a background working in for-profit education and nonprofit in funding and, you're the point man on the administration education portfolio.
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what role does for-profit play from the federal perspective as we think about how do we array the incentives, the accountability mechanisms and where can for-profit add value? >> sure. i think that michael and stacey have done a great job pointing us towards the incentives question and where federal and state and frankly local players in the policy context can do the most benefit to the entire sector but in particular helping to insure incentives are lined up properly for the for-profit sector is around the notion shaping policies that drive incentives towards student outcomes. in the absence of outcomes, evidence that you probably are going to produce outcomes, recognizing that we don't have the full metrics in place to be able to do that today. and so where we have seen over time is that again and again, the government has created the opportunity for markets to evolve. whether it be in the
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post-secondary education or in the charter space or take your pick. and often with the best of intentions creating increased access, increasing new opportunities, and it does two things. one is, often times does not think through the second and third order implications. so the benefit goes to those who attract the most students, not the most who produce the most learning. or, they don't think about the second and third order implications. what about policing as well as access? what winds up happening is, you have some folks, many folks enter into the market with the best of intentions. some folks come in without the best of intentions and the government often times is slow to put the mechanisms in place to deal very discretely with those bad actors. and the sector often times is slow to identify those bad actors and in trying to segment them, segment them away from the general population so everybody
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doesn't get tainted with the same bad reputation. and so where the government could come in is both on creating the incentives that line up with better outcomes and creating opportunities for more direct intervention with those folks actually bad actors and distinguishing between the two. where the government needs help is, creating right incentives in a space as complicated as education is just that complicated. we're going to take our best effort at putting forward, what are the right metrics. how do you decide whether someone is serving the student well? whether someone is serving the taxpayer well? whether this is a good return on investment. government saying here is how you could do this best? hear is the set of metrics that could do this well. we'll wind up in any one-sided covers a little bit what would be short of ideal but i don't think we have the opportunity to sit back and not do anything.
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>> to specific instances that generated attention during the administration's first term, one is the gainful employment regulations which have already been mentioned. this was written historically, as you noted, colleges have been funded, ineligible for federal aid based on students enrolled and not necessarily students served. gainful employment was attempt to write regulations what happens to students when they leave the institution in terms of he will dpablt for the aid. critics say the rules were written in reflect ad bias against the for-profit operators. the second issue garnered a lot of attention the investing innovation fund which you run which did not permit for-profits to apply as principals in their own right. could be part of a team with nonprofit or district but not on their own. could you say a couple words about those and how you and
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the administration strike the right balance? >> with the investment fund i have three first. we to recognize this context that we're talking about is actually about the suspicion for-profits is not narrowly held suspicions it is broadly held suspicion. the what winds up happening is in the legislation that created i-3 there were eligible entities named and eligible entities named school districts and nonprofits and not, there was a decision not to include for-profits. frankly that is the case with almost all federal policy and as far as i can tell a pretty bipartisan issue. there are some small segment of people on either side that are willing to step out and open up policy and large funding streams to for-profits but in many cases this is bipartisan issue where people decide to choose the more conservative approach. in that context then the decision of the administration was, okay, given that is the context we do think, especially when we talk about things that are going to build the capacity
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and have the potential to go to scale, we do want to have the opportunity for for-profits to participate, recognizing that the lead actor will always be a nonprofit or a for-profit. we created a category called other partner which you could have a for-profit join in as a part of the application, and, and receive funds through the application as, once they have applied and been successfully awarded. so that is the way we approached creating a context where for-profits can play, can bring what they bring best which is whatever their capacity is and their ability to go to scale and that adds value in this case to the i-3 application, which is about does it work and can it go to scale. i think there are more and more opportunities for that. i, i am not sure how optimistic i am we're going to see a whole big policy shift until we see a cultural shift that sees a little bit less suspicion around the for-profit space. i just think politicians have to get elected. so that is first, the second
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one of the first one on gainful employment we talked about trying to, the importance of driving incentives. this was an attempt to say, okay, what are the outcomes that we're really shooting for in the post-secondary space? there are a lot of things that are important around learning and social capital but in particular in this time, in our country, people's ability to get out, get jobs to pay them enough money to pay back their loans, at a minimum threshold seem like a pretty good indicator whether or not post-secondary institution provided them with good service. people reacted to this. reacted to it for a number of different reasons i think. one, i think that was, fair is that for-profits, because of where we were, without reauthorization of things like that, for-profits and career oriented programs including in non-profits were targeted first for the gainful employment regulation. they felt like we're going to operate under different rules than some of the others. that i kind of understand but a general pushback on hey, we're trying to move
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the market focused on outcomes? i just, i don't think i've read a book by a person who participates in the education space especially on the for-profit side, where they didn't say, wow, what we really need is outcome based metrics and let this market be driven by performance. if everybody believes that then at some point we have to decide what those metrics are going to be. we took the first salvo. folks pushed back on it. i am waiting, waiting anxiously for somebody to come back and say here are the metrics you should have used to decide whether or not these post-secondary institutions are delivering the kind of services that students need. >> stacey? >> so, jim just said something i think really important. you know particularly in these spaces that have long been delivered by public sector actors. the, desire and perhaps even the wisdom of allowing
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private sector and particularly for-profit actors to get in the game to help drive competition and quality and incentives for innovation and choice and competition all sounds great but, and i believe that. i think one of the challenges is, as those for-profit actors get the right to, to play in that market space i think it would be really terrific if they stepped up as a industry group and said, here are the ways we should be measured against outcome standards that indicate superior learning gains for students, superior cohort graduation rates, superior college going rates. here are the ways to measure us. by the way, here is all our data now on those, on those fronts, and here's where we think we're doing pretty good job. here is where we're working hard to get better.
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fron profit -- nonprofit actors and public sector actors shows us yours. waiting for the government to get it right, hoping that the most vocal critics that are relatively reasonable and have legitimate concerns that they're raising about the ability for some bad actors in the private sector to come in and capture resources away from low income communities and return to investors you want to play and you want to get in the game? great. so how should we be measuring you? oh by the way, is that a superior way of measuring performance in this space in general and if so, let's get everybody moving against that set of metrics. but to sit back and wait for jim to get it right or wait for the gates foundation somehow signal because of where its dollars flow, where might be possible to get better outcomes because you're a for-profit, there's not another industry that works that way. so it's not clear to me why
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we would expect that somehow the government and philanthropy will get this one right. if you're a private actor, you're in the game, you're collecting revenues that are tax dollars, you're making claims you're serving kids better, show us and show us why that set of metrics is a better way of doing it than the way the public sector and legislative processes so far have been able to compromise towards some way of measuring performance. >> raquel, just on this point, you mentioned before the double-bottom line, act emdid mick outcomes and financial. how does learn it systems go about measure or tutoring providers generally, what are the metrics used to determine whether kids are benefiting and whether districts are spending money well here? >> that is interesting, particularly around the supplemental educational services program. right now we're measured on a lot of input metrics. we actually have to show we deliver the service by having a student's signature on the attendance.
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we have to actually show we engage the parent in the student learning plan development by having the parent sign the student learning plan. we have to actually have the teacher sign the attendance forms. there are a lot of different requirements that we have related to, did we actually deliver the service? i think that is important because obviously if we didn't have those initial metrics, there are people who probably wouldn't do the right thing. i want to go on the record to say i don't like bad actor for-profits as much as everyone here likes them because they make me look bad, make my company look bad. we're not currently measured in most states around our actual outcomes. at learn it we have tons of data. stacey, when you talked about the show us the data. we show our clients the data. we have a learn it portal every day after a session ends the progress data from that session gets loaded up into an online portal. we give access to the portal to principals, to school
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districts, to classroom teachers if they're interested. so we want, we want our clients, we want them to have the information. we want them to have the data. we want them to see what their students are working on in our program. we just don't want to show the attendance form, john any attended, no, john any worked on these five skills over the past two weeks. we're not currently required to provide that information. that is something we do extra. there are some states in the actual application process that require that you actually lay out your pre and post assessment results and they actually take that into consideration. are you impacting student achievement in your program when they decide whether to reauthorize you or not but that doesn't happen a lot of places. so we welcome that additional accountability because we know that learn it systems and our colleagues out there who are trying to do the right thing, we'll be able to meet these challenges, we'll be able to provide information and data because we already have it. we're providing it now.
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that way we can get some bad actors out of the system. >> raquel, one thing i thought i heard jim and stacey both pointing towards, not just providers willingly sharing this data in the way you guys are but being proactive about writing, what are the standards? how do we know whether you're doing a-plus work or b work or c work? is learn it involved ird individually or in concert with other tutors to get some outcome metrics like that would be widely available that would allow you guys to kind of say, hey, her here is how we performance against our peers who are operating without this kind of support? >> we participate in a couple of different organizations. the education industry association as well as organization called tutor our children. in the process of thinking about reauthorization we've been taking up the issue of what kind of metrics should be put in the system? we recognize we play a role
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in this. we can't sit back. one we don't want to sit back. to your point if it is one-sided i'm sorry it will not be right. it just not going to be as bold and full as it should be. we've actually taken up this discussion about what we need to do as we look to reauthorize esea and i'm actually going to take this conversation back to my other colleagues and say, we need to step up our efforts and not just focus on esea reauthorization because i don't know when that's going to happen. and so we need to actually be looking to, how do we influence these metrics now? because you're right, if, we have a role in this. we play a part in it. >> michael and jim? >> sure thing. she points to a really interesting point that there's a tension through all of this which is that while there are certain for-profits like you guys that will go the extra yard to show the data and so forth because the market today, the purchasers don't necessarily value that. there is lot of incentives for for-profits in there not to do much more or less than
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the current regulations. and as a result, certain competitors of yours can gain equal share potentially not going this extra mile which creates these weird incentives. the challenge right now with for-profits in particular because they can scale much faster than nonprofits because they can attract so much more capital in the marketplace they can grow faster against these bad regulations and then create this poisonous dialogue james talks about and always reminds me when there is poison in the marketplace the government will overreact, not have a subtle conversation about it. and but here's the thing that we haven't talked about yet, why do we want for-profits in the marketplace? it is that same poison of scaling against bad regular layings, that ability to scale against a quality outcome is something that's intensely valuable, that nonprofits more or less struggle with relative to for-profits. so that is something -- >> why do nonprofits
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struggle with it? >> there is obvious ability for for-profits to attract lots of capital because there will be returns from that capital and scale growth equity. nonprofits don't have the natural pathway. they're constantly going to people like stacey or jim when he used to be at the gates foundation asking for one more lever up. there is limited pool of money relative to what for-profits can do. mckinsey has done a study and it is something like nonprofits spend four or five times as much time raising money as do for-profits. so there's a lot more focus on that. and you really want to utilize that act to scale. what eric talked about, the ability to get talent as well and incentivize people to come in the interesting thing i think, and jim can talk more about this i think but in education compared to other sectors we do a really bad job of creating industry groups that put these performance metrics out across the entire field. one example in healthcare,
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when the retail clinics, these minute type clinics that appeared in cvs and walgreens and so forth came up, very early on they set very rigorous metrics for what a quality member in their association would look like which created some certainty that state regulators could allow them in to say, hey, we're going to get better outcomes in these variety of health indicators. we'll not treat these health conditions over here. we don't promise that we do that. we don't attack that problem. by doing that, getting together and defining that, it allowed them to go up. what is interesting, john bailey wrote a piece for the collection we've done together where in other sectors the suspicion of for-profits isn't really present from government dollars. it is interesting in energy, health care, space questions, we routinely contract and use federal dollars to work with for-profit providers and no one really thinks about whether it is an issue or not. my guess is that is
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partially something about a notion of innocent children but also partially pause we haven't had these big efforts to step up together as a sector to create these outcome metrics from the get-go that will work by. >> i think that's dead on. having come through, i still remember being in a meeting at the very early in the charter movement and it was a association that was forming to promote choice and there was an argument that broke out about whether quality should be in the mission statement, access to quality options versus just access to options for fear that quality would be the way that those oppose choice would come in and clamp down on it and shut it down. literally this was heated 45 minute to hour-long conversation. if you think about that, and there are lots of reasons for suspicion of people
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trying to take advantage of an entry point like that but if you think about that as a sector, how you could argue at any point in time that quality should not always be associated with shuns when it comes to children's education you're going to always going to lose that argument, period. so why have it? so that's said, we are witnessing, we are about to watch it happen again okay? this movie plays over and over and over again where the sector has the opportunity to move ahead, set forward new tools, new resources, new benchmarks how you define performance and avoid a backlash. i will tell you right now the space i'm concerned it will happen right now, virtual schools. virtual schools we've seen start to see increased press on incidents of fraud of various kinds on various scale. now, what is it that is true about virtual schools? that we have not had before? the activity itself is an
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accountability mechanism. you know whether a student has signed in. you know what level of activity they have had. you know whether they demonstrated progress. you know all these things basically on a real-time basis. there is no reason to use traditional accountability system around the virtual school that allows the school to scale to serving thousands of students using millions and millions of taxpayer dollars before you figure out that something is amiss. when the government getting around to that, it will be a very tight box but the sector has the opportunity now to say, we quality virtual school providers know what we can do to show you the kind of outcomes we can produce and what the leading indicators of that are because we collect that data as a natural course of business. i would say most ses providers are now in the position to start to do that as well. there are outcomes and as well as leading indicators of their ability to produce those out comes.
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yet the sector is not protect actively setting framework how this discussion will take place. what is going to happen is, there will be another bad actor who will mess up. it will get a lot of attention and there will be a reaction. and that reaction is going to be painful not only for the person who is the bad actor but for a lot of other people because the sector didn't take the step up. as you have heard i'm a person who comes from the background of having tried to leverage a for-profit company to be able to access talent and access capital and take it to scale. i still believe that is an important role for the for-profit sector to play but as long as we keep having these conversations about why, why is this happening as opposed how do we take the context as it is and frame it in a way that can actually allow for great companies to persist, especially, great companies being defined by those who do outsized returns for their clients, meaning learning gains and placement opportunities and social
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capital and all the other great things that come from great education. very straightforward thing. if you get out ahead of it, one of the things that the health sector and energy sector and even defense has learned, when you get ahead of it, you can help the to shape the conversation the way you can't if you're on the back end responding. back end responding in any context you're at the bottom of that conversation. >> you work directly with teachers. given the tenor of the conversation around for-profits i have got to suspect many. teachers you reach out to or come into contact with probably have mixed feelings about for-profits. what kind of reception has learnzillion gotten and how do you drive the conversation the way jim suggested where it is about focusing on what serves kids well and alleviating concerns in that kind of framework? >> yee. actually let me start with the second part and move to the first part because i think what jim's jim is
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pointing out in terms of incentives the government plays an important role. if there is threat of that sort of response from the government, i think that that in itself then creates incentives for different actors within the industry to act differently. one thing interesting from my perspective being a startup, right. so we have 10 employees right now. we're small, scrappy like, working, really, really hard just to survive versus an established, big player, both within the industry of creating tools for teachers, but actually have different incentives around this issue of quality. for a startup, quality is so important because it is actually where we can go in and say, this is not about a district sale because you know so-and-so's uncle or you have a relationship or you have this enormous sales force that developed all these relationships. this is actually about the bottom line of student learning and even though you haven't heard of us and even
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though we're small look at these results right? really shine a light on what matters most so we can take out the noise that off the len leads to decisions in terms of contracts that won't favor us but will favor a much bigger company that can do all sorts of things around relationship building we'll not be able to do. so when i think about, when i think about trying to work with others to have an industry response i can imagine very quickly other startups, having, same incentives that learnzillion has but i also imagine they're in the same position as we is, we are, thinking about all the things we have to do to be successful. like it is difficult to carve out the time to make that a top priority. we went through this recently with one of our contracts. i should say we're a free website, so teachers, parents and students can access all of the content for free on learnzillion however we do provide a premium service for districts where they can
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customize their curriculum. they can see trends in learning across their whole district and provide targeted professional development around common core. one of our current customers, one of our partners, we actually went to, in fact because, with the gates foundation and said, we actually want to run a study that shows that we're making a difference. . .
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>> and i think it is actually the potential of regulation to come in and create an incentive where we are suddenly working with larger companies to say quality is what matters most. we would be thrilled to do that and join arms with other for profits. >> i would love to hear from jim, stacy, michael. this is the challenge we hear a lot, especially small ventures that are trying to say hey, we want to prove what we do works. the districts are not set up to be these past excites, that these organizations have limited dollars and limited talent. how do we help these guys get out of this kind of catch-22? >> i'll just really quickly, the entire ecosystem, the investment, increase investment in r&d and a special evaluation to allow folks not have to pay
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for things out of their core pocket. other sectors are really adept at advocating for more r&d dollars for the sectors. this is when two sectors were almost is like people lobbied against it. it's very odd when you think about these. the second thing is -- >> when you see people sometimes -- would you say more and more of what you have in mind? >> sure. [laughter] sure. two things. one is, administration put forward a proposal for an arbor for education. one of its meant to do break the r&d and education learning in science technology space, its meant to be a corollary to darpa for department of defense. anyone in the same thing about darpa knows it does the work in the commercial sector realizes the vast majority of valley on the internet, et cetera, et
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cetera, et cetera. let me just put it this way. i have yet to be clear that the proposal has gotten any positive work from the sector and have gotten reports that, in fact, there had been negative feedback from the sector on the proposal. that's just one. when i look at it proposal like taa, grant program and labor which is about producing new online courses, it had a requirement those be open and done in partnership with universities. and a lot of consternation on this front, but the idea that a university is going to take a half a million, to a 1 million-dollar grant and produce a product that is ultimately going to go to steal and compete with folks in the sector. if you're worried about not being of other issues. in fact, the opportunity is to have lots of folks now in fasting, creating a sea pipeline
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which could produce some basic potential innovation that could be adopted or i'll use it as a classic example is the prize that tom and his team ran around, where, in fact, they ran the folks with offenders in state and he allowed others to participate, nonprofits. the nonprofits or whatever they wanted to be, the folks who then were in the business looked over at the folks who outperform the on the other side and said, how would you like to get bought? how would you like to the joint venture? that's the kind of thing you can expect whenever this kind of innovation flourish. instead the industry is attacking these. so that i don't understand. >> i had something on my mind similar to jim. so, we are at the gates moving more towards a challenge structures, when it comes to tools and content, data analytics and those kind of
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things. so rather than as a foundation trying to go out and find the one best thing to support with philanthropic dollars, whether its district money for implementation or some other kind of dollars flowing directly into a supplier or a vendor, we're never going to get that right. we never going to pick the best thing, or too. and i would submit that no philanthropy and no government agency is likely to do that over time in a active market where you have plenty of commercial capital player but as mentioned earlier, there's some other inefficiencies insist that iran around transparency of information, and since that actually constrain innovation rather than enable it. so how do we behave as philanthropists in ways that help get dollars in play, to lower some of these barriers removed or at least mitigate some of these inefficiencies. so the challenge structure which
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is somewhat similar to the price structure is an example. we hear, and i'm sure others on the panel do, too. we hear pretty frequently from what i would call really cutting edge of school leaders who are working hard to incorporate technology supports into their learning activities for the students in ways that actually improve performance, not just cool new whizbang toys that might keep kids engaged the ways that help create learning environments that accelerate students learn. and in particular on the literacy tools front, there are, there's lots of information coming out of the sector that says we are kind starting to get it on the masi, especially in early to middle grades, although there's still lots of work to do. or seems like there's real momentum growing in the for-profit space on the front but we're still really struggling on illiterate front. we know of some tool companies are doing some pretty interesting stuff. somehow they're just not breaking through. customers don't know about them.
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it takes a lot of money to figure out what works, what doesn't. rather than try to go pick the next for literacy, the gates foundation is taking a different approach, which is, do so, in the first quarter of next year, a pretty significant literacy tools challenge and that puts information about what buyers are telling us they want by having trouble finding, and what we believe already exists in some ways in part of the market. but there are some new areas of innovation where it looks like there are not a ton of incentives just yet for innovation. gain that information out in partnership with demand, in a way to give suppliers a little bit of capital to end of it takes the evaluation burden off financial of both the districts, or buyers and suppliers. >> how does he did a pretty open process. >> how does it take the burden off the? >> by having a common evaluation across all products that make similar claims about what it is they will do in terms of
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particular learning challenges they are targeting and the kinds of games they will produce. and making it an outside evaluation that the gates foundation pays for that all players that put their hat in ring for the challenge and these various categories submit to the same evaluation but it will be public criteria about what will be evaluated, really top notch evaluation from selected to do the study. and then have everybody participate over the same time horizon, and the same evaluation that none of those actors actually have to put up the money for. that's a great way for us to use philanthropic resources. i think the more activity like that, fund philanthropy, that can be kind of consistent with what the government is trying to do in terms of driving more innovation, more quality but take some of the burden off, special a early stage actors, like eric and learnzillion and many others out there that really terrific early stage
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product. they need more access to markets and customers, but they also need ways to not have to break themselves producing the kind of information, particularly in this idiosyncratic fragmented way we like to define performance. so more common ways of getting evaluations running across multiple products with multiple demand-side actors, multiple users and buyers in ways that are pretty public and get that information out there transparently, and push their lots of different channels. so not only do the market signals about what's necessary or what's needed it clear for vendors and for innovators, but the way in which you think about what performance actually is. it's clear across the set of buyers and demand actors. >> just quickly, this is the place where gates foundation, nonprofits like this, have tried to step into this base. but there's pretty clear clear at least in my mind argument for
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the federal government in particular to build an infrastructure, testbed site system schools, et cetera, learning environments where you can run on an ongoing basis these kind of experiments at much lower costs and everybody trying to screw up every time they want to study something. >> so the volunteer these -- >> yeah, and as a part of it you get the benefit of having much more coming to the investment of the assistance that allow you to be more is more highly instrumented to forget what's happening and what's happening in the context. as a part of the condition you have to participate with experiments in a way that you can figure out what is working and what's not. >> so i think also has another benefit, which is it starts to demonstrate to state policymakers with the action is in this country. what source of metrics are possible and then what sort of accountability systems based on actual student growth and so forth you can start to put in
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place which can then actually shipped a disincentive conversation to something that is focused on student outcomes. one of the sectors legitimate concerns right now with sort of the art the analogy is you might get some great products that start to come out or great promising things. the prom is in the marketplace it's not clear they would get the traction that you hope they would get because again, the district actors are not message on making purchase decisions based on the things that we think they ought to be. because they are not valued right now in the incentive systems, which is the thing from arpa which the department of defense has some, the incentives are more aligned for them to adopt things that really allow them to fight wars more easily or do reconnaissance better and so forth. those things, it's a clear pathway to adoption than a fragmented system of 15,000 districts, which in many would operate were superintendents are reported because they did
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something different from the superintendent next to them. not because they did or didn't help students. >> raquel, in thinking about this metrics question, it strikes me what learned is doing is much more neatly aligned to nclb accountability and world language instruction. specific instruction, or liberal arts at the higher level. do even better, it strikes me if you're tutoring a fourth or a fifth grader, english language arts commute probably only tutoring a small portion of what's going to wind up in an assessment pecks lake is one question for me is, if we are focusing on the kinds of outcomes right now were set up to measure, how could a metric is that of capturing value you are adding? or do we need to think differently about what we are measuring at the metrics in order to really see whether you guys are serving kids well or not? >> well, i think it's important to actually, i think the metric is important and i think it's a book for a couple reasons. one, to your point, we are
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normally tutoring for about 40 hours. we speak 40 hours per week? >> forty hours, period. in the course of an academic year. so we are very targeted in our instructions. if a student takes our preassessment and they go through and we identify, let's say, 12 areas where they need to work on, that's what we're going to be working on during those 40 hours. the state assessment, now, one more thing, there's a lot of students when they get to our program, they are two or three years behind where they should be anyway. so the challenge is we've got to get them up as close as we can do great level during our programs. a lot of times with my be focusing on skills that are not on their state assessment because their acts are not on grade level at the time when they're in our program. our goal is to educate them as close to grade level as possible. when we think about how do you measure is, one, we don't want
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to be measured on its difficulty measure on the data assessment if you're not necessarily going to be teaching the skills on the state assessment because you're focused on the core skills for students to develop. but you can look at like the benchmark needed you take in our program, and if you're going to try to come up with a larger evaluation that actually takes into account maybe the students grades, feedback from a classroom teacher, we also in addition serving public schools we also serve private schools using title i funding. that program is so great, the same type of program, saying targeted intervention. but instead of being an outsider, we are inside the school. our teachers are actually embedded in that school, working day in and day out with a classroom teacher. like getting feedback saying hey, classroom teachers letting us know, i saw johnny was struggling with xyz. i know you're focused on this.
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can you actually may be changed some of your instructions at the skill and as well? we are acting in partnership with the school, and so we feel like we are actually better able to measure, better able to be measured on what's happening in that students classroom because we are in partnership. so it's difficult because the standardized assessments won't work because we are not necessarily working on the. we've got a benchmark data. we've got what's happening in the classroom. we always hear from teachers that cash, our sins are doing much better, or i'm finding that you've not hot enough to wear his classes, and i couldn't do that before. i didn't have the resources at the time to focus on those individual skill sets, the skill he needed. so it's a difficult, it's a conundrum. it's going to take a lot of smart -- smart people in them to decide how deeply the exact outcome of metrics. but we got to do. it's important, and i think the our initial steps that we need to take. >> gym, especially what we think about the federal waivers on no
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child left behind and the various, flexibility that states were adopted. john ferren has pointed out that when similar things went on back in '80s and '90s, that states were able to opt in to various evaluation designed rather than necessarily particular federal metrics. are there opportunities here for us to think differently about, we're talking about innovation and folks who are not just serving whole schools by serving particular skills or grade levels. are there ways for us to get more creative about how do we allow states to evaluate? >> i think that are. i think that states have taken steps in the direction of being more creative, thinking about what are all the things that actually matter, and how do we actually assure that we are rewarding, like schools and programs, that are not going. one of the biggest challenges of
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no child left behind was a school that actually took those kids became a three or four years behind and move them a year now, two years any it would get no credit. we've seen this of states getting more creative and allowing us to do that so they can get creative. i think that's going to play out in how they in fact work with their partners, and what their expectations are and how they define progress with reporters. so i do expect the states are going to set new kinds of metrics in relationships with vendor, with the vendors that support them. in the other areas where it is still difficult to measure, i haven't seen as much creativity on that side yet. and i think it's going to be one of those things that comes a step at a time, where people are going to say, okay, now we think we have a sense of what i will call the anchor matrix. what are the other things we really want to make sure of that we are dealing with and how do we actually measured it and hold people accountable for it. so things like persistence and resilience which we know are
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really, really important factors in the long-term. the general attitude about learning and intelligence, those things that have an impact on learning of those things might be happening but no one has figured how you measure it well enough to set up an accountability system. i'll be curious to see who does it first. >> eric, i want to come back, i was asking, your business model depends on teachers out there opting to participate to help record and share, some of the most effective lesson plans. do you find any resistance to the fact you're a for-profit? is there anywhere in this? how do you find that connection with teachers in the field and how does that impact -- >> great question. i think, and this goes back to my experience both as a teacher in principle, that it's not really about it being for-profit or nonprofit.
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it's about tools that work, that make your life easier as a teacher, that help you reach students in the way you want to reach students. and i think what we've seen, so i should say, last year we had a dream team of teachers working on these lessons. there were 123 of them from 29 different states, over 100 districts. we had almost 1000 people apply. we had a situation which was somewhat unexpected where we could only select a very small -- we are far more sort of demand to be part of this, and what was interesting when we got these books together, the sort of energy and enthusiasm was, was just off the chart. part of that came from this idea of, i want to have a big impact. i want to have a big impact in a deep way with the students i work with day in and day out but i'm also interested in having a broader impact. you see this with very talented teachers. they're making a choice featured have an impact on 20 kids. but probably was the year they
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wonder is this the where maybe i think about leaving the classroom and trying to steal my impactor have an impact on the system in some way. so these teachers were coming, they all made the choice year after year double down women have a deep impact and suddenly they're in a position where we were talking about scale and stealing their impact and everyone had t-shirts. is all about scale. this just resonate. folks were so excited about taking expertise that they have been crafting year after year, how do you explain division of fractions. to where it's just crystal clear. they figured it out and now the was an opportunity to capture that and know that thousands of other teachers and students have access to that. so we found that quite the contrary because we're focus on skill, because we're focused on is impact and because our hold the those is around championing teachers, folks have been super, super excited to be a part of it.
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>> i just want to raise one more question and then we will open up to questions. one thing jim alluded to, and you as well, is in john bailey's work on this, he pointed out as she said that in other sectors including health care among vulnerable population, we as a nation seem them accountable talk about the role for profit and members of congress a more comfortable allowing for profits to part and parcel of policies they craft. jim imagine a couple of reasons why that isn't necessary the case right now. for the for-profit sector, for those who believe for-profits have something or take a and useful to add, how do you start to change that dynamic is how do you start to change culture where members of congress feel okay allowing for-profits to play on a level playing field? >> so, if i were to channel my inner chris whittle, it would be to say we have to do a better job of teaching economics earlier on in this country.
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it would be a key part of this so people understand the upside for why you won't for-profits in the workplace to begin with. part of the challenges what you'll often hear is well, for-profits siphoned money off to investors as return and don't reinvest all their profits into the businesses and nonprofits, and chris loves to point out the absurdity of that statement because of the multiplier effect that you can attract capital and how, that doesn't make sense when you think about the economics. so that's one piece of it i suppose. i think the bigger piece of is what we've talked about here which is to get groups to come together farming industry groups that to the memory of it a certain quality metric, starting to define to the level of specificity you're talking about, what these sorts of systems start to look like from an accountability perspective. you clearly have willing actors from both the government as well as the foundation world, start supporting that.
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and giving people some security that if there are charlatans are coming into the marketplace, the sectors themselves so make it very clear that they cannot succeed by continuing to do this but i think having that level of security would go a long way towards changing this dialogue from the one right now that i think is entirely unhelpful where which is sort of throw labels and categories where we sit all for-profits are good or all for-profits are bad. and just missed the nuance of the conversation. i think there's a lot of compelling work that has shown is really, in terms of equality, it's almost always the wrong question. >> there's one federal policy change that said a second term obama administration might push which would be helpful. is there one that comes to my? >> personally, i would like to see, jim alluded to this in a way i hadn't heard before, you know, i'd like to see the conversation around gainful employment extend beyond the career and for-profit colleges
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to the entire sector. and making it shining a light on more of the outcomes there. and the second part of it is, give me the biggest challenge with the gainful employment regulations as they stand now, we have suggested our own counter mechanism, but not to go into that right now. i think the biggest problem with it is it's an all or nothing access to cash message. so you either clear of our and then have access to the federal loan dollars and so forth, from title iv, which allows you to grow, or you don't clear the bar and you gives you out completely. the challenge with that is the government has competing interests right now. on the one hand, you do want to extend access to lots of populations that haven't had a struggle access to higher education. on the other hand, you are interested in quality in admittedly a very tough and bargain. you can't make the bar too high. on a quality piece because otherwise you scale back the
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access. the other side if you make the bar too low, you let in all these bad actors that do bad things and take advantage of students that may not have experience to ask the right questions up front. so i think moving more towards a relative sliding scale were as the market improves, the makeup of the actors would improve as well and getting more access to dollars there would be an early point to start the conversation to strip away this all or nothing dialogue we have today. >> all right. why don't we go ahead and open it up? catch their eye. please be kind enough to identify yourself by name and affiliation. as always, please actually ask a question. if we get a few seconds in and i don't see question, we will give somebody else a chance. >> thanks. i'm tom with the carnegie foundation. it strikes me on the
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conversation this point that the discussion about for-profit industry is fragmented in several different segments. we've got the online segment, the more traditional whole school model, higher ed conversation is really, the issues that are different from k-12. so i'd like to focus on just one segment and ask the panel if you see the more traditional whole school management sector fulfilling gems requirement that it be successful on one income and also show evidence of scalability where the actual scaling of the other? and by the way, just parenthetically, we just received a substantial grant from the hewlett foundation to explore a ship in the carnegie unit from a time-based to a
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competency-based metrics. >> so, tom, so the question about whole school management piece is, you want to take that? >> is it, isn't working? are we seen evidence of success merging from that sector, and on we also seen its scale to the point where it can have significant impact? spent one clear by question, k-12 are we focus on in the questions the? yes. >> so from my perspective anyway, what's interesting is if you look at the k-12 segment of full school operators and you look at the traditional brick-and-mortar operators generally charter schools we're talking about here, and then you look at the online full school operator charters can you see two very different pictures.
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so, in the brick-and-mortar space, the charter sector is dominated by nonprofit cmos. it's like 75% or something like that. >> right. nonprofit cmos where she looked at the for-profit side, you actually, sort them if you look at the online side, the exact opposite picture where for-profit bm-25 have dominant share of the market. and my theory is that as you move to online using a scalable technology that's consistent with a model that despite there being no records were differences between the two, insurance or discriminate against for-profits, you've seen an alignment that has a lot of for-profits disco much faster than theirs. said and to that question issues. you are seeing so much bigger scales as you start to move into that equation. the second question on the data i don't think you're seeing that
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data transparency at all right now. partially because a lot of the schools came up in the turn-of-the-century, 99, 2000, 2001 when they were not necessary tracking and doing all the analytics we think about as online. and partially because they may have internal data but they are not sharing it out and so forth ask jim has discussed. but i think at that point that's still extremely short on where we need to be. >> is there any evidence that for-profit operators are doing any better than their counterparts? or are they doing with? >> i don't think there's evidence one way or the other on that question. >> my understanding of performance data, tom, is it mirrors the performance date of the charter sector in general, which is less than 20% of the schools perform better than the local option, and you know, about a third of them perform worse and then there's the big middle. but michael is right. charters serve about 5% of the
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kids in the country right now that are in public schools, and the percentage of for-profit operators that have a piece of that share is tiny. it's less than 1% of the total kids in the country. and a big percentage of those are in these virtual schools. so whether it's because there are more frictionless and scale faster, or they are doing the kind of thing that michael would talk about, competing head-to-head with nonconsumption rather than with things that we look at in brick-and-mortar schools that are more familiar to us than public sector, as public sector institutions, the virtual schools have a tiny percentage of students that they serve but are growing much, much faster and attracting capital at much faster rates than the more traditional whole school brick and mortar for profit school models. >> but really one quick point later to the next question, which is the other challenge by the way is to the extent that they are releasing data, making it understandable i think in the
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dialogue, and translating it is another key challenge right now. so, one for-profit virtual school company responded to a study about her performance with the fair amount of data but making it that people trust and understand i think is another threshold we have to see crossed as well. >> steve from the education industry association. i promise there's a question here, i really do. we are one of the industry groups that are here. in the early days of subsidized tutoring, therefore, we did develop -- [inaudible] school district level but that was adopted by 28 schools, states. so that was the first step in trying to get the industry together on helping drive policy. two years ago, jim, you and i have a sidebar over here very much about the whole issue of performance contracting really, context of scs.
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we sort of made some back and forth they be steps and talking about that. my site, the industry was a little gun shy quite frankly because they thought that there was a breakdown in trust of the lower level. it would never be fair i guess. so here's the question. so, in an era of the wafers were really the policymaking seems to have shifted to say, state capitals around the u.s., have we missed the boat? if industry got together and said okay, let's get real serious about some of these metrics, which of us i were about, virtual or charter school or tutoring or what have you, you know, from a federal role, is it too late? in the era of waivers. >> i don't -- let me put it this with the if it's too late it's not too late because of the waivers to we may have missed the boat because to be totally honest i, i expected there to be
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advocates for scs, and the great compromise position would be you know what, if it's more performance-based, then this will be a way to keep the sector going. and, in fact, sector didn't have that kind of avenue. from folks who were involved in policymaking. and so i think that boat may been missed to come with a solution is going to get the folks who are rigidly were supportive of this option to really stand up for it. >> just to clarify. talking about tutoring in terms of the reauthorization, no child left behind. right now? >> so that's the first part. the second part is i think that states are more likely, the states that are still big supporters of supplemental services are more likely to maintain that position if they can come up with mechanisms for new accountability around it. and i've seen examples of that start to pop up but none of them, none of them really have
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taken off across multiple states and that's where i'm expecting it to go next. but i think the opportunity is still there. i think, i will say broadly, broadly. forget fcs. broadly. he asked me the question about is there one set of policy, policy direction that has the greatest opportunity to shift dynamics with the for-profit sector is a shift towards success. in an environment where prices are fixed, basically, you can only go down. and outcomes make it, you don't care as long as you're getting the outcome who the provider is big but as long as there's a transparency around at, or i can tell you whether you can achieve the outcome, and i care about a lot of other things. some of these input factors but also is there this level of trust? so in general, just my opinion, if the sector broadly wants to see growth and shifting a
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business model to figure out how to get fair models in place is going to be an important part of that. >> jim, is there a particular instance or program that you would point to as the kind of thing that folks ought to be looking at? is very particular starting place for federal policy? >> i thought one of the best possible start in place was the fcs program, because it is very definitive goals you're shooting for, and relatively comfy should put metrics in place that people can come to agreement on. i think those -- soundex spent understood. those areas where you can define outcomes most easily and people can probably come to agreement on them. those are the areas that are right in the first. those areas where it gets more complex, and then you also have to think about again, you can't do this on the basis of whether it's the first incident to which they but with the second and third incentives are.
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premiums, how do you make sure that you get all the way through so incentives lined up and you can drive towards a model that is based in getting good outcomes. >> amanda brand with public education network. just in terms of steve's question of voting on that, it strikes me that it doesn't mr. need to be a federal role in promulgating standards, these can be voluntary standards of the sector comes up with. public education network develop standards like this for local education funds which members, voluntary adoption process based on the independent sectors, standards for nonprofits and good governance and how they are managed. that does -- is a critique i hear in the for-profit world historically that i wonder if stand for another mechanism, and that is certainly in the charter world where you have an
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independent charter authority for example, that grants a charter school, for-profit schools, and it takes out from under -- in other words, the school board, the elected officials have the responsibility for governing the school district, doesn't have authority to pull a charter, perhaps. and as we go into some of these burgeoning field of online and others, perhaps there will be an analogous critique. i wonder if sanders or another mechanism could address that critique. talk a lot about accountability in terms of outcome measures, but the broader critique about governance i wonder. >> i think the governments question is an important one, an interesting one. you know, by and large although different states do charter authorizing differently, obviously. but by and large there's still
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some public entity granting the charter to operate the school. it may or may not be a local school board. some states, local district boards can and are, can be and are a charter authorizer, but often you're right. part of, all of the innovation there was to get some ability outside of the local jurisdiction to grant the right to open and run at school. i think the larger question though is less about where the locus of government is, although that would mean an important issue and should. but in this context i think he really is about this transparency of performance data, regardless of authorizing agency or authorizing entity. do we have the kind of information we need as citizens, and as customers, and as investors, to say this thing is
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like that thing and is making claims about producing certain kinds of student learning outcomes. cannot compare them to their own claims and to each other by some common set of performance metrics? then i think if we, if we get there with mix of industry leadership and some advocacy and some courage on the part of baby state legislatures and local school boards, then i think the question about who did the authorizing becomes much less important because the range of factors and -- at all the various levels have a relatively common way of recognizing and rewarding or punishing performance. >> okay. i'm just curious, -- [inaudible] you guys work in the districts. how have you found a governance challenges particularly in an
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era of standard? >> i think it really depends on which district you are working with and which state you're working with. i think that a lot of times we're in a position where you talked about some of the states that have been open fcs like colorado. colorado is very interested in trying to figure out i think innovative ways to make sure that they are making sure that the best vendors in their community. now districts can actually choose the 10 vendors that they want to work with. i know that was a critique that a lot of districts have before the ses providers workers at the state level and then they had, florida for instance, locally at 700 approved ses providers. which by the way, it's not a good position for us to being in that market either. but then districts would say we have hordes of ses providers come into their district and they had no control. so i think in close whenever i think south goa has that same,
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they kept ses but once against districts can pick the five providers they want to work with. and so i think we're seeing more and more, more and more districts now having more control in ses, if ses is still around in the air. editing is probably what we're going to move to, the state to continue to provide -- will then move to the districts that they can approve the providers that they work with as well. or have more input into what happened in the program because that wasn't happening before. that was a big criticism. >> we are just about out -- i do want to, as we look at a second obama term, if there was one change in federal policy that would help us both kind of cat the ability of the private sector to serve communities well, and to help deal with malfeasance or concerns, what one thing would you like to see? >> i agree with jim the the
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performance-based or outcomes pay we be a huge shift that would get the dollars flowing against things we really care about in terms of student learning versus how many and for how long. >> as a for-profit provider i have to say that we are open to performance but, in fact, when you think that we are only paid in the ses environment for students actually attend. we know that the more students who attend, the more students that attend the better they will do. so we are not opposed to i think it always had to be fair. we have to be at the table having that discussion. it can't be something that is pushed down on us. as far as what i think can be done, i would love to see the administration -- i recognize we're in a toxic environment a lot of ways around for-profits but i would love to see the administration take the lead using the bully pulpit to start to kick some of that rhetoric
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down because a lot of it is just rhetoric and noise and it's not a resolutions. so for the administration to just take the lead in saying, hey, we're not going to judge every for-profit that and every nonprofit is good. if they take the lead and quiet the noise i think that would help to have a meaningful dialogue around what are the best solution, what are the best ways to measure performance but one of the best we should ultimately end up in the coal which is student achievement. >> yeah, i would say in addition to those comments, continuing to invest in internet access in all schools. i still think we're in a place where there needs to be a lot of work done there. so that's one, providing the pipes into the schools so all students have the. i would also say even though this is more of a state issue because the states are the ones who have adopted the common core of state standards, that federal role in terms of supporting that adoption in the limitation of
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the common core of state standards i think also paves the way for them being able to measure the effectiveness of different tools because we're all going to be talking about the same standards. so i think that's really important as well. >> all right. hey, i want to thank all you guys for the session to want to thank the templeton foundation for its generous support. thank you, guys for joining us today. happy thanksgiving. thanks, guys. terrific job. see you all soon. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> both the house and the senate are in session today. the house coming back from their thanksgiving daybreak today. they will be working on a border
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security report, gathering in in just a moment at tpm easter. the senate is in a break for their weekly policy lunch is big their scheduled to return at 2:15 p.m. eastern. you can watch the house live on c-span, and the senate live here on c-span2. also up on capitol hill, ambassador susan rice is making the rounds visiting with a number of key lawmakers discussing what happened during the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi. she's showing interest in becoming the next secretary of state. one of those she met with with senator john mccain who spoke to the media after his meeting with her this morning. here's what he and other senators had to say about ambassador rice. >> senator graham and i and others -- had a very candid discussion with ambassador rice, and director of the cia.
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significantly troubled by -- [inaudible] evidence leading up to the attack on our consulate. tried to suggest -- [inaudible] and whether ambassador rice was prepared sufficiently in order to give the american people correctly the depiction -- [inaudible] it's clear the information she gave the american people was incorrect your she said it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by -- it was not. there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case, including statements by libyans as well as other americans who are fully aware people don't bring rocket
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propelled grenades to spontaneous events. [inaudible] >> bottom line, i'm more concerned now than it was before that the explanation of a how the four americans died in libya but i think does not do justice to the reality of it. at the time and in hindsight clearly was clearly wrong. so here's the key thing. in real-time, the state now is disconnected from reality. [inaudible] jump out at you. this was an al qaeda storm in the making. i'm very disappointed in our intelligence community. i think they failed in many ways, but with a little bit of in cory and curiosity, i think it would be pretty clear --
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inquiry into gaza, i think we pretty clear as related to a video that created a mod that turned into a riot was far a field. and at the end of the day we are going to get to the bottom of this. we have to have a system we can trust. and if you don't know what happened, just say you don't know what happened. people can push you to give explanations and you can say, i don't want to give bad information. here's what i can tell you. the american people got bad information on 16 september. they got bad information from president obama the days after, and the question is, should they have been giving the information at all? if you can do nothing but give bad information, it's better to give no information at all. so my belief is not only is the information bad, and i'm more convinced than ever that it was bad, it was unjustified.
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to give the scenario as presented by ambassador rice and president obama, three weeks before an election. [inaudible] >> i want to say that i am more troubled today, knowing having met with the acting director of the cia and ambassador rice, because it's certainly clear from the beginning that we knew that those with ties to al qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy, and clearly the impression that was given, the information given to the american people was wrong. in fact, ambassador rice said today absolutely it was wrong. i don't understand the cia said clearly that that information was wrong, and they knew by the 22nd that it was wrong. yet they have not cleared that up with the american people to date, in coming forward and
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saying they were wrong, including the president of the united states having parroted, also talked about the fact it was a reaction to a video, impact on been gaza. and what troubles me also is that obviously the changes made through the unclassified talking point were misleading, but just to be clear, when you have a position where your ambassador to united nations, go well beyond unclassified talking points in your daily preparation and responsibilities for that job. and that's troubling to me as well. why she wouldn't have asked i'm the person that doesn't anything about this and i'm going on every singer show, but in addition, the fact that it's not just the talking points that were unclassified. clearly it was part of a responsibility as an ambassador to united nations to review much more than that. [inaudible] >> before anybody could make an
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intelligent decision about promoting someone involved in benghazi, we need to do a lot more. to this date, we don't have the fbi interviews of the survivors conducted one or two days after the attack. we don't have the basic information about what was said the night of the attack, as of this date. so i remember the episode pretty well. our democratic friends felt like a john bolton didn't have the information needed to make an informed decision about ambassador bolton's qualifications. john bolton, the then ambassador, and democratic saying we're not going to go, we're not going to consider this domination domination in till we get basic answers to our concern. all i can do is that the concerns i have are greater today than they were before, and we're not even close to getting the basic answers. [inaudible]
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>> i have many more questions that need to be answered. [inaudible] >> ambassador rice released a statement about that meeting with senators mccain, graham and kelly ayotte saying in part in the course of the meeting we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community and the initial assessment upon which they were based were incorrect in the key respect. there was no protester demonstration in benghazi. while we certainly wish that we had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. we stressed neither i nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the american people at any stage in this process. and administration updated congress and the american people as our assessments involve. -- the fall. that's a statement from a ambassador rice. >> negotiations continue with president obama and congressional leaders about the fiscal cliff. we took your phone calls this
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morning on "washington journal" about that. >> host: at the daily news conference at the white house, jay carney, the spokesman there was asked about liberals who are advocating going off the so-called fiscal cliff. here's what he had to say. >> rather, he spoke with speaker boehner and senator reid over the weekend. he will meet with them at the appropriate time as well as obviously nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell. so, the process that he began is continuing. we continue to be optimistic that a balanced approach is achievable. we know what the solutions are. i think what was said in an op-ed, one benefit of all the debates we've had, negotiations and discussions over the past couple of years on this issue is we know what the parameters of a balanced solution to these challenges looks like.
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they include both spending cuts and revenues, and entitlement reforms. they have to have all three legs to be a part of it. >> host: jay carney yesterday at the white house when he was asked about this idea of going off the fiscal cliff. he has had at his press briefing yesterday thousand, the chairman of president obama's council of economic advisers. to talk about what would happen if we go off the so-called fiscal cliff, and in this report put out by the white house, american consumers will spend 200 billion less in 2013 if the fiscal cliff is not a bird according to this white house report. jay carney went on to say in his press briefing, this is in the "washington post," president obama believes in understand in order to achieve a deal, i compromised and that has to make some tough choices, and he remains committed to the principal.
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however, this is what he said about social security. he said the white house is less interested in tackling the rising cost of social security during the current talks -- so that is what is the latest coming out of the white house on the so-called fiscal cliff talks. the two sides not scheduling to meet face-to-face, although as your from jay carney, the president called the congressional leader over the weekend and the two sides separately meeting this week in washington with business leaders. and as we said, unions, protests up on capitol hill as well. a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff in washington. we want to turn to all of you outside of washington and get your take on this idea of going off the fiscal cliff. we'll start with glenn in new york. democratic color. go ahead. >> guest: you know, i'd to remark on how relatively quickly
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it sounds like the white house is willing to sell out. you know, if we go off the fiscal cliff to january 2, and pronounce, you know, our willingness to help the republicans negate the pledge not to raise taxes by simply letting it expire, and then any tax changed to reduce taxes will be a tax cut. they will be glad to sign. all other superrich backers who are now going to face 55% estate tax on anything over $1 billion will be coming in, screaming over their shoulders, signed a got dam thing. and you know, we're not going to have $200 billion spending if after january 1 we signed a new tax bill the second or third. so the fact that obama's administration is willing to
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make it sound like he's averting a catastrophe over the full 2013 is an insult to people who actually understand what's going on. i hope that -- >> host: do you think, your call on the democratic line. do you think the president is not holding firm on democratic beliefs? >> caller: i really don't know what he's doing, but i just got yesterday it was, maybe the day before, ed rendell supposedly a liberal type of democrat is on one of these teams trying to figure out how to cut entitlements. this is a very simple equation. we have about $800 billion more than is necessary spending on health between the private and public sector. we have $800 billion more in spending that goes into the pockets of doctors who, you, who run unnecessary tests, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.
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and if we reality like that like most of the rational world by simply nationalized health care, that will take care of 80% of the problem. the other 20% of the problem has to do with the spending on the military that puts people in countries that nobody can identify on a map in order to just make, you know, make america's empire an allusion to our self. >> host: he says go off a cliff. tonia -- excuse me, chuck in mourning illinois. what do you think? >> caller: well, i think, i actually am kind of angry about our people that we elect better in d.c. for the next 35 days or whatever trying to make this big decision. they can't come together because they want to hold their ground on whatever it is, and it, but one thing that they should not do is to put us vulnerable in a
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position where, where we go down this slope, and to go back to what was going on, what's been going on for the last two years with the unemployment, you fear an economic recession if we go off the cliff? >> caller: all, yeah. it's going to happen. we're trying to get out of this and they want to go back and stymie everything. it doesn't make sense. i don't think they will, that it won't surprise me if it happens. >> host: what is your confidence level? what do you think the chances are? what are the odds that they get a deal? >> caller: i would say 50/50. >> host: 50/50? >> caller: yet. i think that if, if they stand their ground, then we are going off. we are going off the slope. if they compromise, a lot of people in this country, whatever persuasion you are politically,
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really, you know, it's all about money. i understand that, but i mean come on both sides of the aisle we have to compromise. there's no ifs, ands or buts about. we can't do that. we don't want to do that because of money. >> host: chuck put the odds at 50/50. here is stand in the financial times who is a corporate communicate his washington consultant here and he says there's been no progress on those talks. i still think there's a 60% chance we will go over the fiscal cliff. mr. obama is demanded by congress and george w. bush's tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners households earning more than two and $50,000 a year, that those are extended. the middle class defined as households earning under that amount would be spared, continuing to enjoy the lower rates ushered through congress by mr. bush -- >> "washington journal" airs live every morning at seven
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eastern on c-span. senators are coming by again after their weekly party lunches, and are expected to debate defense and public policy programs.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. schumer: mr. president, i rise to discuss the state of the ongoing negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff. so far, there's been little progress reported at the negotiating table. since the president's very productive meeting with the bipartisan leaders from the house and senate on november
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16, the subsequent staff talks have produced no breakthroughs. republicans in the room are not yet acknowledging the need to let tax breaks for the very wealthiest americans expire, nor are they offering the kind of reasonable reforms to entitlement programs that democrats can be expected to support. but despite this impasse, as leader mcconnell described it on the floor yesterday, i'm optimistic we can get a deal by christmas. i detect a great deal of progress being made beneath the surface. you only need to turn on television these past couple of days to observe the signs of this progress. for nearly three decades, a right-wing washington lobbyists has exerted a strangle hold over maybe not mainstream republicans, threatening political retaliation against my lawmaker who dared to vote for any fiscal solution that asked the wealthy to pay their fair share.
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but in the three weeks since the election, one republican after another has been regiewk buchananing this lobbyist for his uncompromising stance on taxes. republicans in both the house and senate are deciding they no longer want to be married to this pledge. republicans are saying they want a divorce from grover norquist. that alone is a leading indicator that the fiscal deal is within reach. both sides are still far apart, the discussions over the next few weeks will be difficult, but with each new republican disavowing grover norquist, the chances of a deal rises sharply. first there was saxby chambliss, an honorable member of this body, a charter member of the gang of six who spent two years trying to negotiate a bipartisan compromise in the best of sphait. senator chambliss is a signer of the norquist pledge but he went on tv down in georgia, not somewhere else, down in georgia
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last week and bravely said -- quote -- "i care about my country more than i do about a 20-year-old pledge"-- unquote. then on abc this past sunday linsey graham said -- quote -- "the only pledge we should be making is to each other, to avoid becoming greece." on the very same program, my friend from new york, congressman pete king, said the pledge no longer applied because -- quote -- "the world has changed and the economic situation is different." now, these were just two interviews with george stephanopoulos but sometimes progress on the sunday news shows can foreshadow progress in the negotiating room. in fact, these comments by senators chambliss, graham and king appear to have started a trend. yesterday senator corker echoed their sentiments, he released his own fiscal plan which contains a trillion in new revenues. asked whether his inclusion puts him at cross purposes with
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norquist, he said -- quote -- "i'm not obligated on the pledge. the only thing i'm honoring is the oath i serve when i'm sworn in in january. senator murkowski said same sim rather things. even senator sessions said about the pledge -- quote -- "we've got to deal with the crisis we face, we've got to deal with the political reality of the president's ict tri"-- unquote. then this morning the vaunted "wall street journal" editorial page seemed to distance itself from mr. norquist. of the need to compromise with president obama the journal counseled -- quote -- "this is where mr. norquist can give some ground. if taxes are going up anyway because the bush rates expire and republicans scan canada stop them from going up as much as they otherwise would, pledge takers deserve some credit for that." we disagree with the forms of revenues most republicans have in mind. many of the republicans expressing openness to revenues want to pursue them only through
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tax reform next year and even then they're only willing to consider limits of deductions as opposed to rate increases on the ver wealthiest. democrats, on the other hand, believe that even if republicans want to kick tax reform into 2013, a significant downpayment on revenues must be enacted before january 1. and we further believe that the fairest, most straightforward way to make that down payment on revenues is by decoupleling the bush tax cuts for the wealthy, limiting deductions is a necessary raising revenue component of a grand bargain but it does not and cannot replace the need for restoring the clinton era rates for the top two tax brackets. republicans are not quite there in terms of acknowledging this but they are moving slowly in the right direction. as "the washington post" reported this weekend for the first time in be decades there is -- quote -- "a bipartisan
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consensus in favor of asking the wealthy to pay a little more to reduce the deficit. the question is how to do it. this is an encouraging development. it suggests that republicans are slowly absorbing one of the lessons of the 2012 election which as elections continue to be wown wop in the middle and victory remains elusive for parties that occupy either the far left over the far right. over the years the democratic party has wrestled with the same issues republicans are facing. when i was elected to congress in 1981, crime was ripping apart my district district. i came to washington with a goal of working to pass new laws to crack down on crime. lo and behold i found the democratic congress at the time was literally outsourcing the drafting of crime legislation to the aclu. i have great respect for the views of civil libertarians but at that time the motto was -- quote -- "let a hundred guilty
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people foe free lest your convict one guilty person." that dominated our party's thinking on crime for better than a decade. our party suffered for it. we didn't standpoint snap out of it until president clinton passed the crime bill in the 1990's. after that we won back the trust of moderate, middle-class voters. i now how difficult it is. but if history shows anything, after suffering some bad losses at the polls earlier this month, many republicans are now realizing the need to standpoint out of it on taxes. grover norquist has had a good run. it's lasted far longer than the 15 minutes -- than 15 minutes, but his -- mr. president, could i have a little order here, please. mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. mr. shiewrms: grover norquist has had a good run.
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it's lasted far longer than 15 minutes but his stringent views make him an outlier now. it is not unlike what happened to his longtime friend ralph reed to steered the republican party too far right on social issues and is hardly heard from anymore. mr. norquist will likely not be departing the scene any time soon but perhaps key switch his focus to immigration. he makes a lot of sense on the need for a comprehensive immigration reform bill and i'd be the first to work with him on that. but as the events of the last week show on taxes, grover norquist is out on an island. i salute my colleagues, in conclusion, mr. president, on the other side of the aisle who have disavowed his group's pledge. i will encourage others to do the same. the more who do, the closer welcome to a bipartisan -- the closer we willcome to a
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bipartisan -- the closer we will come to a bipartisan agreement. mr. reid: i move to the -- i ask that unanimous consent to prior the clerk reporting the motion, senator mccain being recognized. when he finishes, i -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. mccain: i thank my colleagues -- i think my colleagues and i who have been here for a while remember one of the more moving experiences. that was the signing of the disabilities law on the white house long. bipartisan members of the disabled community were there. the president of the united states, george herbert walker bush, and so many others. but also one of the prime individuals that was largely responsible was our beloved leader at that time, bob dole. a man who epitomized, in my view, how a disability can be
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overcome and go to the highest levels of american government. i freely admit that i love bob dole, i listen to him, i appreciate his leadership. i think the majority leader would agree that we appreciate his bipartisanship during a great deal of his time. i hope my colleagues would, before deciding to vote, at least listen to the letter that was addressed to all of us by senator bob dole. as you may know, tomorrow the senate -- that we received yesterday. as you may know, tomorrow the senate will vote on crpd. unfortunately, i am currently at walter reed and so cannot call you personally but but wanted to connect with you via e-mail and ask for your help. i hope you will support this important treaty. the crpd is the first
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international treaty to address disability rights globally. it is an opportunity to advance the great american tradition of supporting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities on a global basis. ratification of the crpd will improve access outside the united states, thereby helping to ensure that americans, particularly many thousands of disabled american veterans, have equal opportunities to live, work, and travel abroad. it will also create a new global market for accessibility goods. the crpd is supported bay number of individuals and groups, including 21 veterans groups, 26 faith-based organizations, over 300 disability organizations, and the chamber of commerce. your vote would help to reaffirm the goals of equality, access, and inclusion for americans with
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disabilitiedisabilities, both we are affected in the united states and outside of our country's borders. i would greatly appreciate your support of the crpd. god bless america. bob dole. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: senator mccain is absolutely right. those of us that served with bob dole revere bob dole. he is such a stalwart figure in the history of america. he had all the qualities of a leader that i admire and certainly would wish i had. he had a great sense of humor. no one that's ever served in the senate has ever had a better, quicker sense of humor than bob dole. he used it to his -- he used it to perfection. he called me a few days ago. he is at walter reed not for a checkup. he is there because he is infirm.
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he is sick. we should do this to recognize what a great leader bob dole is. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. reid moves to proceed to executive session to consider treaty dock 112-7. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on my motion. the presiding officer: have a sufficient second? there appears to. the question is on the motion. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or change his or her vote? hearing none, the ayes are 61, the nays are 36. the motion to proceed to executive session to consider treaty doc 112-7 is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader. mr. reid: mr. president, could we have order? the presiding officer: the clerk will report the treaty. now the leader.
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the clerk: 112-7, conventions on rights or persons with disabilities. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader. mr. reid: senators kerry and lugar are managing this most important treaty. we're now in executive session. we're going to take a couple of hours to see who wants to offer amendments. senator lugar, senator kerry should be contacted or their staffs to indicate what, if any, amendments they wish to offer. so that being the case, we hope that by, let's say, 5:00, something can -- we'll have an idea of what the universal amendments, if any, would be. so i ask unanimous consent there be a period of debate only on the treaty until 5:00 p.m. today, with that time equally divided and controlled between the proponents and opponents, that that time actually would be controlled by senators kerry and lugar. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: and that i be recognized at 5:00. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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mr. kerry: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: can we have order, please, mr. president? the presiding officer: yes. order, please. take your conversations outside if you want to have them. the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, let me just reiterate. i think senator barrasso here and senator lee and others. we tphraobg -- look forward to working over the course of the next few hours with our colleagues to try to come to
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some understanding of the amendments here. one of the things that we promised here -- and senator reid altered his approach to this in order to try to accommodate our colleagues -- is to make certain we're not closing people out and there is no effort to limit the debate. but i do think by virtue of the work done in the committee and otherwise, there's a limit to where we need to go to in terms of of amendments. so i'm perfectly happy together with senator lugar to work with our colleagues with respect to a reservation or an understanding or a declaration that they believe needs to be tweaked here. and we'll see what we can do with respect to the number of amendments we want to bring. let me just say to my colleagues that this treaty should not be controversial. senator robert dole, president george h.w. bush, former attorney general, republican
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attorney general richard thornburgh, and current colleagues -- senator barrasso, senator moran and others -- have all supported and believe we ought to move forward with this treaty in a bipartisan manner. and i would say to my colleagues that in the wake of the election, this is the first legislative effort we are making on the floor of the senate. and it would be my hope that we could reflect that we heard the american people who asked us to do their business and to not fall into the pattern of partisan divide, gridlock that has so characterized the senate over the course of the last few years. this is our opportunity to prove that the exceptionalism that we are all proud to talk about with respect to our country is defined by our doing exceptional things. and this is an opportunity to do one of those things. we have an opportunity to rise
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with common purpose and make a difference not just here in the united states, frankly, but most predominantly make a difference in the rest of the world as to how people with disabilities are treated. the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities i believe is an opportunity for us to embrace the truth in legislating and to separate ourselves from ideological and/or partisan efforts to distort that truth or to present actually an alternative reality, which is what happens in some cases. mr. president, i think that our colleagues, i'm told, want to approach this in good faith, and we welcome that. we look forward to sitting down with them, working through whatever amendments we should vote on. and perhaps we can even work
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together to tweak one of the understandings of declarations in an appropriate way here, because we'd like to make progress on this. i think we can get this done and i think it will be a good moment for the senate when we do. i know we haven't always agreed on all the issues, and certainly not even with respect to this treaty. what i ask of my colleagues is this, those who oppose this, or who are inclined to oppose it, and i would say step back and take a look at this treaty and measure the report language, the report that the committee put out, and measure the transmittal letter of the president of the united states and the secretary of state and what they have said to the senate is really at stake in this treaty. i ask my colleagues before they come to the floor to carefully check the factual foundation of this treaty, because we have continually heard some outside
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groups characterizing it in ways that simply don't meet the facts, that don't withstand scrutiny when you measure it against the law of the united states or international law, the law of the states. this treaty does not require any change whatsoever to american law. none. zero. there is no impact on american law. there is no ability in this treaty for anybody to gain some new right here in the united states. and no individual, american or foreign, gains any access to the courts in an effort to litigate some component of this treaty because the treaty specifically denies people any access to the courts. it is what is called -- it is not self-executing.
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and as a consequence of not being self-executing, it gives no right to any litigation. so the obvious question might be from somebody, well, why do we want to do it then? what's the benefit to this? the benefit is very significant in terms of our diplomacy, in terms of the rights of americans when they travel abroad. americans with disabilities. now, our bottom line, i think our shared bottom line -- senator lugar, senator mccain, senator barrasso, senator moran and others who support this treaty -- believe that this will extend the protections to millions of disabled americans when they leave our shores. i want to thank majority leader reid for being willing to bring this treaty to the floor at this moment in time when there is obviously a lot on senators' minds, a lot of business before the united states senate.
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but i believe this treaty will be deemed to have the requisite votes ultimately to show that this is in fact in the best interest of our country. now, this treaty has in fact been described, mr. president, as a modest treaty. but the impact of senate ratification is actually far from modest. the impact will echo around the world. why? because the united states of america is the world's gold standard with respect to the treatment of people with disabilities. and this has been a long journey for us in the united states. we've gone through many different steps leading ultimately to the americans with disabilities act, which we celebrated the 20th anniversary of. and our own colleague, senator harkin from iowa, was the leader on that landmark piece of legislation together with my former colleague senator ted
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kennedy, and they moved this country forward in great steps so that we welcomed people with disabilities into mainstream america. the impact of this treaty is to take that gold standard and extend it to countries that have never heard of disability rights or that have never changed their laws to accommodate people with disabilities. and this will have a profound impact. most significantly, it will have a profound impact on those who have served our country, 5.5 million disabled american veterans who may want to travel abroad, work abroad, go to another country to study, who will as a result of this gain lifestyle benefits and accommodations that they otherwise might never have. now, 125 nations have already signed this treaty and are
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living by it. we haven't. we were the principal architect. our laws are the model. but once again the united states has been holding back while other countries fill the vacuum that we in fact have left behind. i want to share with my colleagues a statement by senator bob dole, who was as deeply committed to this cause as senator ted kennedy, and he was committed to the original americans with disabilities act. and senator dole today, as we know, is in bethesda hospital. i don't know if he's listening to this at this time. i met with him not so many months ago. we talked about this and other issues. he's a great patriot, and he was a great leader here in the united states senate. and i think his words ought to be listened to by our colleagues. and here is what he says: he says it was an exceptional group that i joined during world war ii, which no one joins by
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personal choice. it is a group that neither respects nor discriminates by age, sex, wealth, education, skin color, religious beliefs, political party, power or prestige. that group -- americans with disabilities -- has grown in size ever since. so, therefore, has the importance of maintaining access for people with disabilities to mainstream american life, whether it's access to a job or education or registering to vote. senator dole went on to say that u.s. ratification of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities will improve physical, technological and communication access outside of the united states, thereby helping to ensure that americans, particularly many thousands of disabled american
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veterans, have equal opportunities to live, work, and travel abroad. in testimony before the foreign relations committee this year, mr. president, special advisor for international disability rights at the state department, judith wyman, recounted in personal and searing terms why this issue is so important. and she drew from the experience of her own life -- quote -- "as a child, i did not have the benefit of accessible communities, inclusive schools or accessible transportation. without even simple curb cuts i wheeled in the streets among ongoing traffic. i could not ride our buses or trains. i was not allowed to go to school until i was nine years old and then received poor-quality education, segregated from the rest of my peers. when i applied for my first job as a teacher i was initially
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denied my certification simply because i could not walk." well, today, mr. president, she is advocating on behalf of the state department for this treaty, and she summed up our interests in this compelling way. she said, "u.s. citizens with disabilities frequently face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, serve, reside or retire overseas. with our extensive domestic experience in promoting equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities, the united states is uniquely positioned to help interested countries understand how to effectively comply with their obligations under the convention. however, the fact that we have yet to ratify the disabilities convention is frequently raised by foreign officials and deflects from what should be center stage: how their own record of promoting disability rights could be improved."
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she says, she goes on to say, "though i take great pride in the u.s. record, it is, frankly, difficult to make best use of the bully pulpit to challenge disability rights violations on behalf of americans with disabilities and others when we have not ratified the convention." mr. president, america's history, all of its history has been marked by the long struggle for equality. it's a struggle that ought to inspire all of us to fight on behalf of many others whose voices are too often ignored or forgotten. maybe the movie about lincoln today would really rekindle in a lot of americans that best sense of what's worth fighting for and what's worth achieving in public life. for me, that vision of fighting for those people whose voices are ignored or forgotten means
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having and holding on to a vision of a society that really works for the common good, where individual rights and freedoms are connected to our responsibilities to each other. all americans have an inherent right to be treated as equal citizens of our nation, but the historic march towards a better, fairer america can only come about if we are willing to make those less fortunate than ourselves the focus of our work. this is a march that goes on for all of us, and it must go on because without it, nothing changes. one thing is clear, the disabilities convention is not an issue that pits republicans against democrats. senator lugar is here, senator mccain and others. nor is it an issue that should divide us along any partisan lines. the foreign relations committee approved this treaty in a strong bipartisan vote on july 26, and
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that marked the 22nd anniversary of the landmark americans with disabilities act. so i'm grateful to majority leader -- former majority leader dole and to president george herbert walker bush who joined the bipartisan group of senators whose names i have listed in advocating for this important cause. and i think that our former colleague, senator kennedy, would be very proud if he could see us coming together today in support of a convention just as we did two decades ago with the a.d.a. this treaty is personal to many members here, to senator durbin, to senator harkin, to senator lugar and others, and members from both sides of the aisle have worked hard to bring us to the floor today. i believe the questions have been answered. i think the report and the record could not be more clear. the only question that remains is whether we're going to be remembered for approving the
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disabilities convention and reconnecting with our best traditions or finding an excuse to delay and defy our own core responsibility as senators. mr. president, i have received countless letters and heard from nearly 300 organizations on this issue. there is a long, long list -- i'm not going to read all through those 300 -- but every single major military organization supports this treaty. the air force sergeants association, the air force women officers association, the american g.i. forum, the blinded veterans association, the division for early childhood of the council for exceptional children of disabled american veterans, the military officers association of america, the
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national guard association of the united states, national military families association, paralyzed veterans of america. and then a long, long list, mr. president, veterans for common sense, veterans of foreign wars, veterans of modern warfare, vietnam veterans of america. but countless other faith-based associations, the methodist's general board church, the united church of christ. you could run through a huge number of faith-based organizations. a huge number of human rights and rights organizations. from all over our country. i urge senators to check with the rights organizations and others in their own states. almost every state in the union, the kentucky protection and advocacy association, the michigan protection and advocacy services. you can run a long list of people who believe the time has come. and i would ask unanimous consent that the full list of these supporters be placed in the record at this point. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. kerry: mr. president, across the developing world, persons with disabilities face remarkable indignities and prejudice on a daily basis. they're prevented from attending schools. they're subject to discriminatory hiring and practices. they're on which unable to enter a public building, unable to safely cross a street, unable to even ride a public bus. there are an estimated 650 million people in the world today who live with a disability. some 36 million of our fellow americans are disabled. and veterans are filing disability claims at an unprecedented level. there is a challenge in these statistics and it's a challenge to the decency and the humanity of every member of the senate. when a disabled child in a developing country is killed at
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birth because of their disability, that's a challenge to every single one of us, as americans and as citizens of the world. when a pervasive cultural stereotype forces disabled people to abandon their dreams and toil away in crushing poverty, it should offend the sensibility of everybody in the senate. and we have a chance to do something about that. when our wounded warriors are prevented from living, working or studying or traveling abroad because of a lack of basic physical access, that violates our sacred oath. i urge my colleagues to go to the report and read the testimony of people who talked about how things have changed in certain countries because countries signed on to this treaty to try to reach the american gold standard. each of these episodes that deny people those opportunities takes a little piece of our humanity.
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so i think that our identity, i think our exceptionalism is on the line in this vote personally. i know that some have said we don't need this treaty, that, you know, some have even argued it requires a change in law when it doesn't require any change in the law. but to paraphrase senator moynihan, who reminded us often, everybody's entitled to his or her opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts. and i simply say to my colleagues, there are basic facts with respect to this treaty and we will argue them over the course of the next hours and perhaps days. but i want to just share the most important facts right up front. i said this earlier, i'm going to repeat it again. this treaty -- i hope we won't hear this debate on the floor of the senate, because the -- the text, the legal and documentary text of the report language and the treaty and the transmittal
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language and the interpretations of the justice department all make it clear this treaty does not require any change in american law. none. and testimony from everybody, including former attorney general thornburgh, make that clear. in addition to that, just to make certain that we address the concerns of our colleagues so that we reinforce that notion, the foreign relations committee included additional multiple reservations, understandings and declarations in the resolution of advice and consent, including one that ensures that the treaty cannot be relied on as a cause of action in state or federal courts. so when we ratify this, we will ratify it with the clear understanding that there is no right of action in america's state or federal courts.
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we've also heard the argument that the convention could somehow change u.s. domestic law with respect to abortion. again, let me make it as clear as i know how. this is absolutely, positively factually inaccurate. the convention does not mandate or prohibit any particular medical procedure -- heart surgery, brain surgery, abortion or anything else -- and we made that crystal clear in the understandings of ratification. what it does require is something very, very simple. it requires that governments do not discriminate against the disabled in anything that they do allow or prohibit? if you allow a procedure, you must allow it for the disabled and the nondisabled alike.
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if you prohibit a procedure, you must prohibit it for the disabled and the nondisabled alike. that's all this treaty does. but it's powerful and critical to those millions of people who are discriminated against otherwise. the foreign relations committee included language in the resolution of advice and consent to clarify what i just said. now, some have also tried to make the argument that the disabilities committee created by this treaty -- there's a committee that's created -- is somehow going to intrude on the life of americans. well, again, mr. president, the facts. facts are -- our -- our good president, john adams, said once that facts are stubborn things. well, they are stubborn. they don't go away. and the facts are that this treaty and this committee that it creates has no power except
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to make a report, to put people on notice so they can then consider what they might want to do. it doesn't require any action. it doesn't compel any action. it has no authority to do so. it simply shows the -- the -- sheds the light of day on what may or may not be happening somewhere so people can then nudge and push and jawbone and -- and use the pressure of public scrutiny to hopefully change behavior. by terms of the treaty, this committee has exceedingly limited powers. it can simply accept and review a country report and make a recommendation. that's it. ends at recommendation. nothing else. so the fact is, mr. president, here in the united states we are blessed because we already live up to the principles of this treaty in america. our laws, including the a.d.a.,
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are more than sufficient to compel -- to -- to comply with this treaty from day one. and that's why nothing's going to change here at home except for those people with disaibilities -- withdisabilitio their family who can say, i can go take that job over here or i can go study there because the standards are going to rise and people will be able to do that. mr. president, for decades, i'm proud to say, the world has looked to the united states as a leader on disability rights. it's hard to believe but actually some people are now beginning to question our resolve on something that we were the leader on. and -- and -- and that's disappointing i think to everybody's who's been affiliated with this effort over the years. let me quote john lancaster. john is a disabled vietnam veteran who testified in support of this treaty and who challenged us all to do the
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right thing. and his words were stark and simple. he said, "as someone who volunteered and laid my life on the line for freedom, rights, dignity, now to have this whole debate that we're not willing to espouse the disabilities convention to the rest of the world, that we're not willing to walk the talk in international circles, to step up to the forum and advocate? we aspire to what's in this convention. that is what we are about as a nation. including people, giving them freedom, giving them rights, giving them the opportunity to work, to learn, to participate. isn't that what we're about? isn't that what we want the rest of the world to be about? well, if we aren't willing to say that that is a good thing and to say it formally, what are we about?" mr. president, that's a powerful statement from a man who served his country. the convention on the rights of
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persons with disabilities is more than a piece of paper. it's not an empty promise. it's a reflection of our values as a nation. it is a lever. it is an inspiration. it is a diplomatic tool. it creates the ability to change life for people in many other countries, and that's what america is about. john -- john lancaster close the out his testimony saying, "from a veteran perspective, i think we have much to gain from the improved accessibility of the world. today, some disabled soldiers and marines remain on active duty in spite of their disability, continuing to serve their country. those service members should be afforded the same rights outside the united states as they enjoy here. for a disabled veteran working abroad, the adoption of disability rights and implementation of disability laws allows them to do their jobs more effectively and
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reaffirms what they served for: liberty and the opportunity to participate." he closed by saying, "we have a moral obligation to one another to serve our great country and to show what we represent to all mankind." mr. president, when he returned from vietnam, john struggled for years with environmental obstacles, employment discrimination. i really think we owe it to him and to millions of americans facing similar plight today to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities and -- and get the job done. when george h.w. bush signed the americans with disabilities into law, he did so with the hope that that was going to foster full and equal access to civic, economic and social life for
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people with disabilities in america. senator kennedy, who played an important role, said, "this act has the potential to become one of the great civil rights laws of our generation. it's a bill of rights for the disabled and america will be a better and fairer nation because of it." that's the spirit that animated the passage of the a.d.a. and it is the same spirit that has inspired a bipartisan group of senators to work tirelessly to pass this convention. mr. president, i ask that the full text of my comments be placed in the record as if read in full. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: and i yield to the senator from indiana. mr. lugar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. lugar: mr. president, the chairman of our committee, the distinguished senator from massachusetts, has expressed the case well and strongly. let me just say in simplicity
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that as we enjoyed hearings on the rights of persons with disabilities, we learned that essentially the united states has an opportunity for leadership, for an expression of our idealism with regard to the care and treatment and concern for disabled persons in our country and the world. if we ratify this treaty, we will join with other nations who meet annually, they receive every four years reports from the various countries that are involved, as to progress that they have made. they compare notes. they learn, really, how the disabled are treated. our belief is that we are the gold standard, and that there are many countries that would like to know technically how people are treated in the united states and what sort of
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investment would be required in those countries. having said that, we should also say very frankly that the committee or the governing aspect of this has no ability whatsoever to create law, neither state, local, or federal, in the united states of america, to compel americans to do anything, literally. so we have an opportunity to be advocates of our idealism and we have an opportunity to listen to others and perhaps to gain new insights that in this body and with our fellows in the house, but i think that's very important. now, having said all of that, i would say that likewise the committee did understand that there are considerable anxieties in our country about this
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situation. i would say that it's conceivable that the debate we have today illustrates that some members of our body have valid concerns about the convention. i think it is clear that we will cite again and again our domestic legislation such as the a.d.i. and the idea, that constitute the most effective standards to advance the rights and provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. and one of the arguments by the administration in support of the senate ratification is that by becoming a member, we will be enabled too increase our global credibility. it is argued this increased credibility with other countries will be beneficial in exporting and promoting standards. the executive branch also argued when officials have bilateral conversations advising other
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governments of improving standards for their disabled citizens, officials often question why the united states is not a party now to the convention. opponents of the convention have argued that we should only accede to the convention if it advances united states international interests -- national interests. there have been questions raised regarding the binding nature of the convention, the response has been that the convention is nonbinding, and the committee formed by the treaty has no come compulsory authority and this also addresses the concerns of opponents who have cited instances of overreach by such committees established by human rights treaties in the past. most major veterans groups as has been cited and disabilities rights groups some have all written in support and as a
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matter of fact turned out by the hundreds for the hearings and the markup of this legislation in the senate foreign relations committee. and they indicated it would be very important from the perspective of making the world more accessible for united states citizens, including disabled citizens, veterans who are disabled, improvement of a global standard for all segments of a disabled community should be our goal. and although accession to the treaty will not instantly achieve that goal it may provide another avenue through which we might try to achieve the goal. i want to mention specifically now some technical aspects of our committee consideration. article 34 of the convention creates the committee we've talked about, the committee on the rights of persons and disabilities. it consists of 18 persons, elected by state parties to the convention. and they are required to submit
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periodic reports to the committee concerning measures taken to give effect to the obligations under the convention and the progress made in that regard. the convention provides the committee shall make such suggestions and general recommendations on the report as it may consider appropriate and shall forward the state party concerned. the committee recommendations are advisor, advisory only, and are not binding on the state parties including the united states of america. the united states has recognized the rights of individuals with disabilities through constitutional and statutory protections. the americans with disabilities act of 1990 which that has been cited, takes many of the rights of the convention and the rights already exist in federal law. the conditions can be grouped
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generally into the following cat industries grist: education, employment, health. the committee closely reviewed the best interest of the child in the standard set forth in article 7 of the convention. including whether united states ratification of the convention could negatively impact parental rights with respect to disabled children, including parents who opt for to home school disabled children. the department of justice testified unequivocally that parental rights would not be hinder in any way. in response to written questions for the record, senior cowps lower to the senate attorney general for civil rights, eve hill, stated that -- quote -- "in light of the federalism and private conduct reservations, among others, there would be no change to federal, state, or
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local law regarding the ability of parents in the united states to make decisions about how to raise or educate their children as a result of ratification, end of quote. mention has been made by the chairman about article 25 of the convention. the state parties recognize that individuals with disabilities with have the same right as others to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. they must be offered the same range, quality and standard of care that is available to other persons in their countries. health care professionals must provide care on the same basis as they would provide it if the individual seeking care did not have a disability. article 25 also prohibits discrimination based on disability related to the provisions of health and life insurance. the convention companies not provide any additional or different rights on matters of
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abortion. it only provides that people with disabilities not be treated any differently than others, existing united states rules on abortion would still apply to u.s. citizens. the recommendation has recommended the senate include certain reservations, declarations and understandings in any resolution of advice and consent. the administration has stated with the following reservations understandings of the declaration, the united states would be able to implement its obligations under the convention using its vast existing network of laws affording protection to persons with disildz. therefore i stress this, new legislation would be required to ratify and implement the convention. i shall not go through all the details of the reservations but they do specifically mention
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federalism, the convention shall be implemented by the federal government of the united states of america to the extent it exercises the legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered therein. and otherwise by the state of governments to the ex tense that state and local governments exercise jurisdiction over such matters. i would say that secondly, as nonrelation of certain private conduct, this is suggested by the mption, adopted by the committee, the constitutional laws of the united states establish an extensive protection against discrimination reaching all forums of government activity as well as significant areas of nongovernment activity. individual privacy of freedom are also recognized as among fundamental values of our free and democratic society. the united states understands that by its terms the convention
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can be read to require broad regulation of private conduct. to the extend extent it does the united states of america does not accept any obligation, any obligation, under the convention, to enact legislation or take other measures with respect to private conduct except as mandated by the constitution and laws of the united states of america. i would intention mexico in addition to proposed reservations of the administration adopted by the committee, there were numerous proposed understandings, all of which were adopted by the committee. they protect essentially the first amendment of the united states, economic, social, and cultural rights in our country, equal employment opportunity, uniformed employees in the united states military departments, definition of disability -- in other words, the united states law state and local government law apply in all of these cases without
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exception. and cannot be countermannedded by anything with regard to this treaty. likewise there have been proposed declarations offered by the state department and those adopted by the committee. i would simply say mr. chairman -- mr. president, that without reiterating each of the reservations, they all attempt to meet any conceivable objection or question raised by citizens of the united states who have testified, who have written the committee, or in this body have visited with members of the committee as we were preparing for this obligation today. this is a treaty, in aaccepts, that states our idealism. we would be a part of an organization of which we have a forum to do that. we are under no obligation to
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adopt any of the suggestions of the other committee members although we will listen respectfully to them. but, as a matter of fact, the treaty is important because we have such a gold standard that others have simply raised the question, why are you not a part of a picture that might make this available, thoughtfully, to the rest of the world? and there is no good answer to that, mr. president, if, in fact, we espouse these yldz with regard to all of humanity. but specifically and one reason why veterans' organizations and other organizations trying to help the disabled in our country advocate this treaty. he would like to see improvement in other countries. sometimes our war fighters, as a matter of fact, are forced by all sorts of conditions to live in other countries. we hope our -- with a hope of
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receiving proper treatment, the best treatment, that, as a matter of fact, as they have any sort of life in those countries, that there is an improvement for them in this. and if they have any hope as they come back to america and travel abroad again for any nursing number of purposes, the treatment for their disabilities will be there, hopefully of the same quality. we need to be advocates of this, advocates for our veterans, and for other americans who have disability. and so for these reasons, mr. president, we're grateful to the majority leader for bringing this to the floor at this time. we are very hopeful at least that the bipartisan debate which we had in our committee and a strong vote of -- for ratification will find some
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residence in this orr all debate in the senate. it's a privilege on my part to work with our leader and to have had an excellent set of hearings and to have enjoyed really the comments of our veterans. there are many in this body who have served this country in the military services. they have distinguished records. i had only a modest three years and four months of active duty after volunteering for the navy. but that was really sufficient for me to learn what was important for them with whom i was serving and those in veterans' organizations such as the american legion, headquartered in indianapolis, indiana, about what is vital really to the quality of life for those constituents. so i'm hopeful that we will have success in this effort and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from indiana not just for his comments do now but for his many years of leadership on this issue and his wonderful partnership in all of this. i'll have more to say about that as the days go on here. but we are going to miss his vision and wisdom over the course of the years here. mr. president, could i inquiry of the -- inquire of the parliamentarian, is time equally divided? the presiding officer: it is. mr. kerry: i would suggest the absence of a quorum but suggest that the time be docked from the other side if they're not here and proposed to talk, until such time as they're equal with us, at which time it would be taken from both sides equally. is that fair? we're abouting to equall going . i would ask the time be equally divided in the quorum call.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: let me rescind my call for the quorum. mr. lugar: i have had requests from senator mccain to speak and he would be first in order on our side. and when he's available -- mr. kerry: mr. president, i also have requests from senator harkin who i thought was going to be here right now, so i'd ask that -- if senator mccain doesn't appear, senator harkin speak and then senator mccain, then senator klobuchar and senator durbin, senator coons and cardin have all requested tievment but the other side, obviously, has a right to speak, so i would hope colleagues would come to the floor and use the time as they desire. with that, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. lugar: i would ask that the quorum call be rescinded. officer without objection. mr. lugar: i would like to recognize senator vitter on our side. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. vit i have thank you, mr. president. -- mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. i rise to note brave concern on behalf of a constituent an of me
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and miss family, a businessman from slydel, louisiana. he has been held against his will in the custody of south sudanese officials since october 14 for several weeks now going on a month through thanksgiving. mark mccabe is a businessman. he was in africa, south sudan with business partners pursuing business opportunities, doing everything by the book legally, ethically. and, apparently, for reasons we don't yet fully understand, business competitors or business entities of his had some sway with south sudanese officials, particularly in a particular portion of the government with the security force, and he was taken into custody. he was charged with vague, very
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serious crimes, and he's been held against his will for these many weeks. well, mr. president, i won't go into all the detable, but it's been a -- into all the details, but it's been a long, torturous experience. i've been on the phone virtually every day with state department fishes, with the south sudanese ambassador to the united states, with others trying to die manned basic due process and basic justice. things have gotten a little better in the last week, and a few days ago there was a hearing before a judge regarding these trumped up charges, and when the prosecution had basically no facts and no evidence to present, the judge virtually laughed in their face with regard to this lack of a case. nonetheless, the prosecution asked for three more days to get its house in order, to get its notes in order, possibly just to rye to save -- just to try to
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save face by dropping these trumped-up charges against mr. mccabe, rather than having them thrown out against their will by the judge. we hope that's the case. we pray that's the case. but we don't know yet. and the next hearing before this same judge is going to be this thursday. and so i just come to the senate floor to urge that judge and the south sudanese government to do the right thing, to do justice, and to immediately release mark mccabe, who again has been held against his will with no evidence, with no meaningful charges against him since october 14. and, mr. president, i want to repeat what i said directly to the south sudanese ambassador to the united states, that for many years we have built a strong, positive bilateral relationship.
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but that relationship depends on appropriate trust between the parties and appropriate action. and we're looking at this case very seriously. wiswe're looking at this case aa test of their judicial system, aes a tesaas a test of their ape intentions. and in this completely unjustified detention continues, i can vow personally that i'll make sure there are consequences and repercussions to that relationship. because there should be, because they have violated basic fundamental and human rights of a u.s. citizen. so again, mr. president, i'm hopeful, based on what happened in south sudan a few days ago, but to quote president ronald reagan, trust and verify. and we're going to verify one way or the other come thursday.
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and the matter is very simple. we expect, even though mark mccabe has been held against his will for weeks and weeks, finally at this late date we fully expect this sorry state of affairs to end on thursday. and if it doesn't, if this continues, if these trumped-up, frivolous charges begin, if he continues to be held against his will, i promise that i will make those statements to the south sudanese ambassador ring througtrue.i promise i will foln this to take action because this is absolutely outrageous. with that, mr. president, i know we all join together to pray for justice, t pray for mr. mccabe's safe keeping. he has a serious heart condition. indications are that he suffered a mild heart attack while in the
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custody of south sudanese officials. we pray for him and we very much look forward and expect his quick return to his home in the united states. thank you, mr. president. i thank the gentlemen leading this debate for the courtesy of my speaking outside this topic. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa.
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mr. harkin: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. i have two unanimous consents for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, i want to rise to support the consideration -- i should say we have already voted on the consideration, but to support the ratification of the u.n. convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, or as it's known as the crpd. first, i want to thank chairman kerry of the senate foreign relations committee for his diligence and for his leadership on this issue. he has carried this through the committee. he's brought it to the floor. in fact, i was reminded earlier today, we were both on the committee back in the 198 1990's when we first started working on the americans with disabilities act under the tutelage, really, of senator lowell weicker who
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remains a great friend to this day and is still a great leader on the issues of people with disabilities, and so we go back that far in working together on these issues. i just want to thank senator kerry for his great leadership in bringing us to this point and hopefully the point being that we're going to ratify this wonderful treaty. i want to thank senator lugar again for all of his efforts through so many years on so many different things. on this issue especially going back to the americans with disabilities act, but through all these efforts, and if i might diverge from this just for one brief moment to thank senator lugar for his leadership in making the world safer and getting rid of nuclear weapons in the soviet union. what a singular effort that has been. what senator lugar has done to make the world a better place for us and for our kids and
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grandkids. so i salute him for his wonderful leadership in that area. senator mccain, of course, who was here and who worked with us on the experience with disabilities act back in 1990, 1989 on that and was very much involved in that. senator durbin, senator barrasso, senator more an, senator udall, -- senator moran, senator udall, senator coons, all of whom worked very hard to secure the ratification of this very important convention. as the chair of the committee on health, education, labor and pensions and as the lead senator as author of the americans with disabilities act, i want the united states to become a party to this convention so we can apply the expertise that we have developed under the a.d.a. and help the rest of the world remove barriers to full participation and honor the human rights of their citizens with disabilities. one of my greatest joys in the
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senate has been my work with so many senators on the americans with disabilities act of 1990. the a.d.a. stands for a simple proposition -- that disability is a natural part of the human experience and that all people with disabilities have a right, an inherent right to make choices to pursue meaningful careers and to participate fully in all aspects of society. so thanks to the a.d.a., our country is a more welcoming players not just for people with a variety of disabilities but for everyone. 22 years ago on july 26 of 1990, president bush gathered hundreds of americans with disabilities on the white house lawn for the a.d.a. signing ceremony, and here's what he said. it's wonderful what president bush said. he said -- quote -- "this historic act is the world's first comprehensive declares of equality for people with disabilities, the first.
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its passage has made the united states the international leader on this human rights issue." end quote. well, thanks to the a.d.a. and other u.s. laws, america has shown the rest of the world how to honor the basic human rights of children and adults with disabilities, how to integrate them into society, how to remove barriers to their full participation in activities that most americans just take for granted. our support for disability rights inspired a global movement that led to the united nations to adopt the crpd. in fact, i might just add parenthetically that after the americans with disabilities act was adopted, we had people from many countries come here. i can think of both first russia, then it was greece, ireland, great britain, a number of other countries came here to learn what we had done and then to pick it up and move forward
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in their own countries. our legal framework influenced the substance of the convention and is informing its implementation in the 125 countries, i think, that has signed the -- that has ratified it along with the european union. my staff was involved in 2002 when the u.n. first broached this subject of coming up with a convention, and in turn provided to them the substance of the americans with disabilities act, its history, its provisions and what had been done from its adoption in 1990 until 2002, and the changes that it had brought about in our own country. so really, the americans with disabilities act really informed and laid the basis for what the u.n. began to do in 2002 and completed in 2006. so again, i'm very grateful to the leadership of senator kerry,
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senator mccain, also senator dole who i know is -- is not able to be with us right now, but in all of their support for the ratification and the -- of the crpd. i appreciate that former presidents george h.w. bush, his white house counsel boyden gray, attorney general dick thornburgh, former congressman steve bartlett, tony coehlo have all been actively supporting this ratification. i'm also grateful for the support from the u.s. business community, including the u.s. chamber of commerce, and the information technology industry council for ratification of this treaty. because of their experience with the a.d.a., american businesses have developed expertise that they can apply in the global marketplace in a way that gives them a competitive advantage. if we are a party to the convention, the u.s.-based companies with this expertise
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will be on much more solid footing when they are seeking to help other countries write and implement domestic legislation consistent with the convention and consistent with u.s. standards for accessibility and equal opportunity. like the americans with disabilities act the crpd enjoys widespread support in the business, veterans and faith-based communities. i could be off a little bit, but as of the writing of this, we had letters of support from more than 250 americans with disabilities organizations, 21 veterans service organizations. i caught some of the comments made by our distinguished chairman, senator kennedy -- senator kerry in talking about veterans as they travel around the world and being able to access in other parts of the world what they can access here in america. a very, very good point. 26 faith organizations also in
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support of the crpd. these entities all realize the critical importance of america's position as a global leader on disability rights. they want our country to have a seat at the table and to share that expertise as the state's parties to the convention work to implement it around the world. i might just adhere that under the -- add here that under the convention, a committee will be established to assist and to help other countries in implementing and changing their laws and conforming. if we are a party to this, we get a seat at the table. if we're not a party to it, we won't have a seat at the table. why shouldn't we have a seat at the table? we have been the world leaders in this. so by ratifying this convention, the united states will be reaffirming our commitment to our citizens with disabilities, americans with disabilities should be able to live and travel, study, work abroad with the same freedoms and access
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they enjoy here in this country. and again, as other countries who have been signatories to this, as they grapple with how to change their systems and to make their systems more accessible, again, we can be at the table helping them to implement this and to learn from our experience. the administration has submitted reservations, understandings and declarations that make khraour u.s. rat if i -- make clear that u.s. ratification will have no fiscal impact. the senate foreign relations committee has modified this to address concerns raised in the committee markup. although u.s. ratification of the crpd will not require changes in u.s. law and will not have a fiscal impact, i think it is very clear that u.s. ratification will have a clear moral impact. it will send a signal to the rest of the world that it is not
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okay to leave a baby with down's syndrome on the side of the road to die. it's not okay to warehouse adults with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities in institutions chained to the bars of a cell when their only, quote, crime is having a disability. that it's not okay to refuse to educate children because they're blind or deaf or use a wheelchair. it's not okay to prevent disabled people from voting, getting married, owning property or having children. it's not okay to rebuild infrastructures in iraq or afghanistan or haiti or other war-torn or disaster-stricken areas without improving the accessibility of the infrastructure at the same time. former president reagan frequently talked about america as a city on a hill, a shining example for the world of a nation that ensures opportunity
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and freedom for all its people. thanks to our country's success in implementing the a.d.a., advancing that law's great goals of full inclusion and full participation, america indeed has become a shining city on a hill for people with disabilities around the globe. by ratifying the crpd, we can affirm our leadership in this field. we can give renewed impetus to those striving to emulate us. we can give them that renewed emphasis by our example and by sitting down with them and working with them, only if we are a signatory to this treaty. and again, you think about american exceptionalism. america, we are a pretty exceptional country when you think about it, in many ways. we're not just exceptional because we have the most tanks, guns and bombs and things like that. but we are exceptional in terms of what we have done for civil rights and human rights and to include all in our family.
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our family being our citizenship. and we took great strides. and america has always been evolving as a country to expand civil rights and human rights. and one of the latest, of course, was to extend those rights to people with disabilities in our society, making sure that people with disabilities have all of the rights and opportunities that anyone enjoys in our society. and so it seems to me that this is the kind of exceptionalism that we ought to be promoting around the globe. we ought to be proud. we should be proud of what we've done as a country in this regard. we should not be afraid, not be afraid to join in a convention, to extend to the rest of the world what we've done here basically and to be helpful in making sure that other countries can also attain that kind of a standard that doesn't exclude anyone because of a disability from their society.
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i know there were some who were not part of the bipartisan vote who support ratification in the committee. i understand that. but my hope is that in the intervening time and in the course of senate debate that we will have addressed any remaining concerns and move forward with a strong bipartisan vote to provide our advice and consent and pass the resolution supporting u.s. ratification of the crpd with overwhelming bipartisan support. when we voted on the a.d.a. in 1990, it was a vote only six people in the senated voted against it. 91-6. it was historic law. my hope is we can achieve the same kind of strong bipartisan statement of support for the human rights of one billion people with disabilities around the world. to those of us who travel a lot around the world, maybe i see it more because of my involvement in this.
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but you go around the world and i can't begin to describe how often people come up and ask us how we can help, help them change so that people with disabilities can have more access, be more involved. and many times, many times -- i've been in countries where someone comes up and they may not know my involvement in this. but through the course of conversation, maybe it's someone in business, maybe it's someone in government, in education. and they mention this. they mention accessibility because they've got a brother, a sister, a friend, someone who has a disability. and they talk about how easy it is for them in america to get around, to move around, to go to school, to do business.
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and they would hope that maybe their country could do the same thing. it happens a lot. and here we are, we have the opportunity, i think, to really be a key player in this global effort. i think it was important for us as a country for the first 10 to 20 years to focus on our own internal problems in terms of advancing the cause of people with disabilities. when you think about all the changes that have come about in the last 22 years. and now we take a lot of it for granted in terms of accessibility, mobility, education, health care, job accessibility. i mean, it's just not an unusual thing any longer to walk into a business and see someone with a physical disability or an
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intellectual disability working there. we just kind of don't even think about it much anymore. we don't think about kids mainstreamed in school with disabilities. i remember when our oldest daughter was in grade school, and idea was coming into force and effect. individuals with disabilities education act. a child with disabilities was integrated into the classroom, and there was this big hew and cry from a lot of the parents about oh, this kid was going to be disruptive and how are the other kids going to learn? we got through that. we got through that. now we have a whole generation, what i call the a.d.a. generation, kids who were mainstreamed in school and kids without disabilities don't think anything about being their friends, going to a ball game with them, going to the theater
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with them, working alongside them. and so we have this whole new generation where it's just -- you just don't think about that any longer. it's a normal aspect of life. that's just not so in other countries. i mean, in other countries, it's still, quite frankly, a sign of disgrace when a family has a child with a disability. well, it's time to get over that. and by countries signing on to this, we can help them in so many ways. it's not just kids or young people with physical disabilities. it's people with intellectual disabilities. how -- for how long have we looked down on people with down's syndrome, for example? said, well, they can't do anything. we segregate them in society. we he send them to special schools. we give them occupations that
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don't challenge them. now we've broken that down. now so many people with intellectual disabilities we find can do a lot of things, and they can be challenged and they can do -- yes, they can do competitive employment. they don't need sheltered workshop. they can be in competitive employment. just a little support, a little training. so so many things have changed for the better in this country. it would be a shame -- be a shame -- if all this good that we've done through all sectors of society -- the business community, government, transportation, education -- all these things we have done to make sure that people with tkablts are not discriminated against and that they have full opportunities, all the opportunities anyone else has in
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our society, it would be a shame to say that somehow we're not going to support a convention, an international convention that basically takes what we've done and says, here world, this is what we should be doing globally. and to have 125 countries already sign up to it. and here we are, those that took the leadership in this area, and everyone from the white house to, as i say, the chamber of commerce who was supportive of the a.d.a., and the business community that worked so hard on this, it would be a shame if we didn't ratify this and become players in this and have a seat at the table to help the rest of the world attain what we've attained in this country. again, i just want to thank senator kerry and senator lugar and so many others, senator mccain and others. i'm probably forgetting to mention someone, but so many people that have worked so hard
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on this to bring this to this point. i just got to believe, yes, i know there are some senators who have some problems with this. i don't question anyone's motives or anything like that. i think some people do have maybe some concerns about this, hopefully that through the amending process we can allay those concerns. i just hope we give a resounding, resounding support for the ratification of this treaty and show the world that we're proud of what we've done. and we want to join with the rest of the world in making sure that they too can advance and progress and have the same kind of support and accessibility and opportunity for people -- with people with disabilities as we've had in america. i thank my colleague and my classmate and my longtime
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friend, senator kerry, for his leadership on this. i hope we have a resounding, overwhelming vote for this just like we did for the americans with disabilities act 22 years ago. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: madam president, i want to thank the senator from iowa. i want to comment quickly before i yield the floor to senator from minnesota and ask a couple of unanimous consent requests. i heard the senator appropriately pay tribute to senator lugar for his accomplishments in terms of making the world safer. and i say to my friend, without any question whatsoever and reserve that the accomplishment of the a.d.a. is one of those singular moments in the career of any united states senator, and it made the world better here at home and a lot of other places if we get this done. because the senator from iowa helped set that gold standard. i thank him for that.
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there are only three of us left from our class. it's good to stand up with him today on this, and i appreciate it enormously. madam president, i ask on behalf of senator murray, unanimous consent that jake cornett, a fellow in her office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the 112th congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: i ask unanimous consent that the time for debate only on the treaty be extended until 6:30 p.m. with the time equally divided as provided under the previous order. further, that at 6:30 p.m. the majority leader be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: i thank the chair and yield the floor to the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: madam president, i rise to discuss the importance on the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. i want to thank senator kerry and senator lugar for their outstanding leadership in this important treaty, as well as senator harkin, my neighbor to the south for all he has done for people with disabilities.
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for many years i served on the advisory board of pacer, one of the nation's greatest organizations for parents of kids with disabilities, and saw firsthand what so many families go through every day, the incredible courage and the love that they show for their children and the really inspiration that so many people with disabilities bring to our country. to paraphrase minnesota's own happy warrior, hubert humphrey, the moral test of a government isn't just how it treats the young, the health and the able-bodied, it's also how it treats the sick, the elderly and the disabled, those in need of a little extra support that. may be the moral test of a government but i believe it is also the moral test of a people and the moral test of a country. today i call on all of my colleagues to vote to ratify the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities for two simple reasons. first of all, ratifying this treaty is about protecting the
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rights of u.s. citizens who are living with disabilities overseas. right now, thousands of americans with disabilities, including our men and women in uniform, live, work, study and travel abroad. i believe that these americans deserve the same rights and protections that they would enjoy if they were living in the united states and this treaty is about ensuring those rights and protections. second, ratifying this treaty is about advancing a core moral value that we all share as americans, the idea that all people are created equal and that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. our country has long led the world as a beacon for equality and human dignity, and this treaty would elevate our role in promoting human rights around the globe. these are american values but they are especially near and dear to my heart as a senator from minnesota, where we have a long and proud tradition of
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working to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same basic resources and opportunities as everyone else. after all, it was the minnesota ramp project that introduced a new american model for building statewide standardized wheelchair ramps. we're the state that sent paul wellstone to the united states senate, where he fought long and hard for mental health parity, something that finally passed in this senate and was signed into law after he died that it was signed into law. we're home to some of the most innovative centers to disabled in the country, including pacer, already mentioned, the courage center and a.r.c. we even have one of the most accessible baseball stadiums in the country. and while the twins -- we're looking forward to a better season for them next year -- we are so proud of our new stadium and how accessible it is for people with disabilities n. many foreign countries -- disabilities.
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in many foreign countries, not even schools and hospitals can meet these standards for eem pee with disabilities. when a person isn't even able to get an education or access to health care they need because of a disability, that's a very big problem. even more troubling is the fact that some foreign countries lack laws for protecting the disabled against discrimination, meaning thethey have no recourse after being denied a job or an education or the use of public services. remember, these inequities don't just affect foreign citizens, they affect americans who are living in those countries. so this is what is at stake here, protecting our own citizens when they travel to other countries and extending the values of equality and justice that we so cherish in our own country. it's important to note that ratifying this treaty will not require any changes to united states laws nor will it impact american sovereignty or will it incur costs to taxpayers. it has been endorsed by every
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major disabled persons rights organization, every major veteran service organization, the chamber of commerce, and several republican and democratic administrations. madam president, protecting the rights of the most vulnerable among us is not a partisan issue. it is an issue of decency and an issue of dignity and i believe it is an issue that we must all stand behind as americans. i urge my colleagues to ratify this treaty and move us forward in advancing the rights of disabled people around the world. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. kerry: madam president, i want to thank the senator from minnesota so much for taking time to come over here. i know she didn't intend to earlier but she cares about the issue and took the time to come here and share her thoughts with us and we're very, very appreciative. we obviously hope the twins, you know, do whatever they want second only to the red sox in the future. that said, i suggest the absence
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of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: before us for advice and consent is the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the crpd. i support the treaty, urge my colleagues on both sides of the tiel suppor -- of the aisle to t
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it. in american, i don't believe that anyone considers someone with a disability to have any less rights or protections than people without disabilities. i would suggest that this reality is partly due to our values but also due to bipartisan efforts to codify in law that persons with disabilities are afforded equal access and protection from discrimination. over 22 years ago, the members of both parties came together to pass the americans with disabilities act. it's not only the law of the land but it's a template for the crpd in countries around the world that are moving to update their laws. both the a.d.a. and the a.d.a. amendments of 2008 were passed with wide bipartisan margins. they are examples that from time to time we can engage in a bipartisan effort in this body. in many countries, accessibility
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to public spaces is not available to persons with disabilities and they are still discriminated against or cast aside in societies across the globe. horrifically, infanticide occurs in many countries where children are born with disabilities. protecting the rights of persons with disabilities -- all persons -- isn't a political issue, it's a human issue, regardless of where in the world a disabled person strives to live a normal, independent life, where basic rights and accessibilities are available. disability rights and protections have always been a bipartisan issue, and ratifying this treaty should be no different. senator durbin and i and senator kerry began months ago, and with senator harkin, senator lugar, many others, we've been discussing months ago how we can work together in a bipartisan manner and build support for
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ratification of the treaty. as i mentioned, we've worked closely with senator moran, barrasso, coons, tom udall, harkin and others, and i want to thank them for their support and efforts to get to us this point. senator kerry deserves special recognition for scheduling a foreign relations committee hearing and a markup that favorably reported the measure out of the committee. and i also want to thank the majority leader for scheduling this treaty for consideration today. i think my colleagues should appreciate that this treaty is supported by over 300 disability organizations, at least 21 u.s. military veterans service organizations, the u.s. chamber of commerce, and many other organizations. it's not an accident that literally every veterans organization in this country supports this treaty, because it is our veterans, many of whom
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are coming home as we speak, that will live and travel abroad and will benefit from this treaty. and as i've traveled around the world where conflict is ever present, i've seen that so many people will benefit from the principles embodied in the treaty. so i would argue this effort is probably more important today in the world than it has been in the past. another strong supporter of this treaty is one of my closest friends and heroes, bob dole. as you know, bob has dedicated nearly his entire life to this country through his military service and, following that, many years in public service. he has dedicated the past several months to encourage support in the senate for this treaty. earlier, i read a statement from bob and i'd like to mention some parts of the statement. he said, and i point out --
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rather poignantly, he says, "it was an exceptional group i joined during world war ii which no one joins by personal choice. it is a group that neither respects nor discriminates by age, sex, wealth, education, skin color, religious beliefs, political party, power or prestige. that group -- americans with disabilities -- has grown in size ever since. so therefore has the importance of maintaining access for people with disabilities to mainstream american life, whether it's access to a job, an education or registering to vote." i wouldn't go through bob dole's entire statement but i would point out that there are still thousands and thousands and thousands of his comrades who came home disabled in some
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respect. bob, of course, in the most painful way. and we all recall with some nostalgia and appreciation that he and our other wonderful hero, senator inouye, spent time in the same hospital following world war ii going through very, very difficult periods of rehabilitation, a friendship that was forged there that has lasted ever since. i can assure you that there's nothing that bob dole would want more than to be here on the floor of this senate delivering his own speech before the senate today and urging colleagues to consider this treaty based on facts and on our values that insure, protect and advance the rights of persons with disabilities, whether on u.s. soil or around the globe, where we can make a difference. i received a letter today from -- and it's very difficult for notice pronounce his name
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but i'll try -- from one individual, chin guang chin. he is an individual who's a blind chinese activist who recently came to the united states of america thanks to the efforts of many of the leaders in our administration, including the secretary of state. i want to quote from his letter. this is a -- an individual who's blind who fought for human rights in his country, in china and now thank god is in the united states of america. his letter says, "dear senators: i'm writing to you personally to ask for your support for the convention on the right of people -- persons with disabilities. as you know, my work on civil rights began with trying to ensure that people with disabilities in my home country of china were afforded the same rights as everyone else. the crpd is make this go idea
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real in significant ways around the world. today worldwide there are over 1 billion people with disabilities and 80% of them live in developing countries. disability rights is an issue that the world cannot afford to overlook. when the united states enacted the americans with disabilities act over 20 years ago, the idea of true equality for people with disabilities became a reality. many nations have followed in america's footsteps and now are coming together under shared principles of equality, respect, and dignity for people with disabilities, as entailed in the crpd. the u.s., which is instrumental in negotiating the crpd, can continue to advance both its principles and issues of practical accessibility for its citizens and all people around the world, and by ratifying the treaty so take its rightful place of leadership in the arena of human rights.
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as i continue my studies in the united states, it is a great pleasure to now learn firsthand how the u.s. developed such a comprehensive and strong system of protection for its citizens with disabilities. i am so hopeful that you will support ratification and allow others to benefit from these triumphs. thank you for your leadership. very, very moving letter from a man who risked his very life, a man who is blind but still risked his life for the freedom of others, including rights for individuals in his country for disabilities. there's a letter we have from former attorney general dick thornburgh and white house counsel boyden gray, they wrote to the foreign relations committee to address issues raised by opponents, who home
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schools who believe the ability to make parental rights will be impaired. i take it my colleague from massachusetts addressed this aspect of the concerns that the home schoolers have. mr. kerry: if i might just say to my colleague, the -- the resolution actually does address it but i have not so i think it would be important if the senator wants to discuss that for a moment. mr. mccain: they go on to say -- here's what they wrote, the former attorney general. i've been blessed to live and know many attorneys general but i think all of us on both sides of the aisle would agree that dick thornburgh ranks up there in the top rank. they write concerning the issue of home schooling, -- quote -- "nothing in this treaty prevents parents from home schooling or making decisions for their children. the treaty --this treaty embraces idea, the a.d.a., and
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all of the disability nondiscrimination legislation that has made the united states the leader on disability rights. the specific provisions on women and children state that women and children with disabilities cannot be the victims of illegal discrimination as in the case under u.s. law. furthermore, the crppedz recognizes and protects the important role of the family and specifically protects children from being separated from their parents on the basis of a disability. we take a back seat to no one in our defense of the rights of parents to raise their children or in our support for our federalist system of government with sovereignty at both the federal and state levels of government. some opponents are also suggesting that somehow the u.s. law or existing parental rights would be impacted by supporting the treaty. attorney general thornburgh and white house counsel gray address
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this as well. we understand that some are claiming the changes in u.s. law would be necessary to implement the obligations the u.s. will undertake as a result of ratifying the treaty or argue that it will not have the force of law. such claims are not correct and quite simply extraordinary. when the u.s. senate attaches conditions to its consent to a treaty, they are binding on the president and the president cannot proceed to ratify a treaty without giving them effect. the senate has a long tradition of careful consideration and frequent adoption of limited rud's as is the case here. any claim that such limited conditions do not have the force of law or are inconsistent with the object and purpose of a treaty on disabilities that u.s. laws inspired in the first place is contrary to the long-held
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position articulated by the senate regardless of which party is in control and in spite of whatever theories that may momentarily exist in academic circles. administrations of both parties have also uniformly held this law. in 1995, the united states stated that -- quote -- "reservations are an essential part of a state's consent to be bound. they cannot simply be erased. this reflects the fundamental law of the treaties, obligation is based on consent. a state which does not consent to a treaty is not bound by that treaty. a state which expressly withholds its consent from a person cannot be presumed on the basis of some legal fiction to be bound by it. furthermore, the cppedz protects -- crpd protects the role of the family by specifically recognizing the role of parents in raising children with disabilities and prohibits the dissolution or
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separation of families because one or both of the families are persons with disabilities. article 23 entitled respect for home and family provides that children with disabilities provides that children have equal rights with respect to family life, that ratifying the treaty have the obligation to provide early and comprehensive information services and support to children with disabilities and their families, and that in no case shall a child be separated from parents on the basis of a disability of either the child or of one of the parents. finally, the crppedz will provide -- crpd will provide mched protection in qunts countries where there is no birth registration in particular, it will protect against the horrible practice of infant siteside of children born with -- infanticide of children born with disabilities, which
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can be facilitated through the denial of birth certificatesser registration to disabled babies. every action that we have ever taken on disability policy has been bipartisan. being able to live independently is a basic human dignity that we support and it's a value that we can help advance internationally by supporting this treaty. i'd just like to say in closing i thank both my colleagues, senator lugar and senator kerry, and i think we might think just for a moment in conclusion about the fact that there are various conflicts going on around the world, in syria we have seen 40,000 killed, i don't know how many, 100,000, 200,000, who have been wounded, many of them innocent women and children because of the ferocity and barbaric conduct of this
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conflict. i don't know how many people today in china are subject to infanticide because there is not a birth certificate available and we know that that practice not only in china but in other parts of the world, a lot of it in asia, go on. we live in a very troubled and tush leapt world. not only -- turbulent world. not only the normal situation, there are people who are born with disabilities from time to time. i have had the honor of knowing children as all of us have, and there are no more loving and caring people in our world than children and disabilities who have disabilities. but there is going to be a lot more because of the conflicts that are going on in various places in the world. they might deserve our special attention because they are living in countries that will
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have a lot less of the rule of law, a lot less ability to care for them, particularly in the short term whether it be libya or whether it be syria or whether it be iraq or whether it be afghanistan. all of these countries, we are going to have citizens who have been the victims of the violence of war. i believe that the best thing that we can do for them in the short term is take whatever action we can to see that they are not discriminated against, that they receive the same protections that we guarantee our americans with disabilities, and that they are afforded an opportunity to live a full and beautiful life. and finally, finally, i'd just like to say my two friends and i have been around this place for quite a while. in the view of many, perhaps too long. but the fact is that one of the
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highlights of our shared experiences was on the lawn of the whaws when a -- white house, when a guy, remember, one of the leaders of the disability movement, mr. tax cuttle and others -- mr. tuttle and others were there when the president of the united states was there, at the time president george herbert walker bush and our beloved bob dole was there, and it was a great moment for all of us. it was a great moment for america. it was all of us doing something contributing in a small way to make better the lives of people who otherwise may have had great, great challenges in having the kind of lives that we want every american citizen to lead. i believe that this -- this treaty, this action is an action conrad and -- add qad and important followup. because i don't think -- yes, there have been problems with
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any legislation of the sweeping magnitude and scope of the a.d.a., but i don't know of anybody who doesn't believe that it was a magnificent success and an enormous contribution to making the lives of our citizens with disabilities better than they otherwise would have been. so wouldn't we want that same thing to happen to everyone in the world? wouldn't we want these children that are going through such difficult times in their lives, wouldn't we want those who have been wounded and maimed to have an opportunity for a better life? wouldn't we want to have as americans be proud that we blazed the trail with the a.d.a. in a really remarkable shift and change and act of almost miraculous benefit to so many of
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our citizens, wouldn't we want that also to apply to the other citizens of the world? i think most of us would, and i think most of the american people who are paying attention to this believe that. that's why so many of our veterans organizations are in support. that's why so many in the disabilities community are in support. that's why there are so many charitable organizations that are in support. so i want again thank both of my colleagues and tell them that i certainly hope that we can convince all of our colleagues that one of the nicest things that we could do as a christmas present for people around the world is to ratify this treaty. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: madam president, i want thank the senator from arizona, i want thank him obviously for his comments just now but most importantly really
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appreciate his extraordinary leadership on this issue and a lot of human rights issues, issues of conscience. he speaks with a very important voice on these things, and i think that he knows that i'm always happier when he's working with me than against me on any issue on the floor. i know he used to pride himself in his fight occasionally with senator kennedy but he also prided himself enormously when they were able to get together and work together and i've certainly enjoyed many things senator mccain and i have done together, most notably i think joining hands across a certain belief divide to help end the war in vietnam, the real war that kept raging in the minds of a lot of people and that was a ten-year journey that we made together, and i'm certainly proud of that and grateful to him. but i want come back to this treaty for a moment and senator mccain's efforts on it. i would say to my colleagues who have raised in the minority
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report a couple of concerns, and none of us are dismissive of those concerns, every senator has the right to express their beliefs. but i can't think of a senator more compelled -- he's been the ranking member and chair of the armed services committee, he's been the ranking member for years, has been one of the leading voices on defense issues and on the defense of our nation. and everybody knows his record in terms of personal service. so there's no senator who comes to the floor, i think, arguing more consistently the prerogatives of the united states of america with respect to defending our nation and upholding the constitution. and i would ask my colleagues who are finding some reason to doubt this treaty or to have some sense that it presents a threat to

U.S. Senate
CSPAN November 27, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EST


TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 51, United States 35, America 33, U.s. 31, Lugar 15, Mr. Kerry 13, Mccain 13, Washington 12, Bob Dole 11, Kerry 10, Mr. Reid 10, Jim 8, Massachusetts 8, Harkin 7, Minnesota 6, Mr. Lugar 5, Barrasso 5, Mr. Schumer 5, Grover Norquist 5, United 4
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